10 Break-Out Sessions

  • Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

A Demographic Revolution: Young India Takes Charge (with All India Management Association)
Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, OYO Rooms
Pranjal Sharma (Topic Leader), Economic Analyst, Advisor and Author, India

India is undergoing its economic, technological and demographic transition simultaneously. An old country is becoming youthful and adventurous with the passage of time. Young Indians like OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal are quietly taking charge of Indian ethos by becoming icons of audacious aspirations and tangible proofs of its potential, spawning startups that are becoming most valuable and famous than many legacy companies. How can young revolutionaries find ways to carry the older generation of investors, regulators, workers and consumers with them and what can other economies and founders learn from India’s momentous transition?

Collaborative Advantage Across Generations: Reflecting on the SGS Experience (ISC Alumni)
Former Members of the International Students' Comittee
Christoph Loos (Topic Leader), Chief ­Executive ­Offi­cer, Hilti AG
Vivian Bernet (Topic Leader), Head of the Organising Committe, International Students' Comittee
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For over 50 years teams of student have volunteered to organise the St. Gallen Symposium. They have written countless invitations, met thousands of partners, and welcomed some of the most important personalities of their time on stage. Together with former members of the ISC we will reflect on the St. Gallen Symposium experience of cross-generational dialogue and collaboration, the lessons they have learned for their lives and on how the symposium has evolved. This session is organised together with ISC Alumni.

Collective Genius? Cultivating Creativity in the Arts and Beyond
Susan Goldsworthy, Affiliate Professor of Leadership, Communications and Organizational Change, IMD Business School
Gerry Hofstetter, Light Artist & Film Producer Hofstetter Marketing
Javiera Estrada, Artist
Tatjana Rupp (Topic Leader), Member of the International Students' Committee

As the need for innovation is growing, the routinisation of well-structured creative processes within organizations is key for concurrent value creation. Prof. Susan Goldsworthy of IMD, this year's St. Gallen Symposium artist Javiera Estrada and Light Artist Gerry Hofstetter will discuss the role of collaboration in the creative process. Together, and in conversation with the audience, they’ll explore the way collaboration can drive creativity in various organisational contexts, and, on the other hand, the role of introversion and lone contemplation in creating something new.

Connecting Business with Purpose: The Potential of Skills-Based Volunteering
Curdin Duschletta, Head Community Impact Switzerland & Foundations, UBS
Christopher Jarvis, Executive Director, RWInstitute
Prof. Amanda Shantz (Topic Leader), MBA Director and Professor of Management, University of St.Gallen

Many employee volunteering and giving programs are presented as an employee perk, similar to casual Fridays or a team-building event. But treating workplace giving and volunteering this way fails to fully capitalise on the great potential of such programs: to foster employee personal growth, and address key societal challenges. The panel will particularly explore the potential of skills-based volunteering, its benefits, and the unique challenges that arise when moving from merely transactional volunteering to something far more transformative.

Financing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
Patrick Zhong, Founding Managing Partner, M31 Capital
Makram Azar, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Full Circle Capital
Prof. Julia Binder (Topic Leader), Professor of Sustainable Innovation and Business Transformation, IMD Business School

The investment landscape over the next twenty years will be radically different from previous generations. While there appears to be greater access to capital, there also appears to be much more volatility and debt with no clear dominant financing mechanism. Entrepreneurs, VC, Private Equity, and banks will have to find new ways to work together to create growth and stimulate innovation. How can investors and entrepreneurs better collaborate and find mutually beneficial agreements that balance risk and return?

Hacking the Fashion & Luxury Watchmaking Industry towards more Sustainability (with Condé Nast College)
Martina Bonnier, Editor-In-Chief, Vogue Scandinavia
Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO, Omega S.A
Carmen Jenny, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, CLOTHESfriends AG
Johannes Reponen (Topic Leader), Director of Post-Graduate Programmes; Academic Affairs; Research & Knowledge Exchange, Condé Nast College

The fashion industry accounts for 10% of humanity’s annual carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. For long, the fashion and luxury watchmaking industry drove, together with the fashion media industry, unsustainable dynamics in the sector: generating more and more demand through an artificial cycle of new collections and seasonal trends. Businesses’ marketing, media as well as influencers thereby create a constant longing and demand for their products. How can designers, fashion houses and publishers exit this vicious cycle and, collaboratively, drive the transition towards more sustainable and ethical fashion and luxury watchmaking?

M100 Sanssouci Colloquium@St. Gallen: Media’s New Power: More Impact Through Collaborative Journalism
Mathias Müller von Blumencron, Journalist, Member of the Board, Tagesanzeiger and Advisory Board Member M100 Sanssouci Colloquium
Joanna Krawczyk, Chairwoman, Leading European Newspaper Alliance
Paul Radu, Investigative Journalist, Co-Founder OCCRP
Astrid Frohloff (Topic Leader), TV Presenter and Journalist, Advisory Board Member M100 Sanssouci Colloquium

Media diversity, freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Europe are currently under threat. Journalists and independent media companies are increasingly joining forces across borders to respond to such challenges as well as to be able to continue to offer independent quality journalism in the future. This session will identify learnings from new media partnerships such as the Leading European Newspaper Alliance (LENA) and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) to identify how media can most effectively work together.

Democratizing Access to the next Generation of Technology and Innovation: Communities and Radical Transformation
Gina Loften, Member of the Board of Trustees, TIAA
Luzius Meisser, Chairman, Bitcoin Suisse
Tycho Onnasch, General Manager, Trust Machines
Shuo Chen (Topic Leader), General Partner, IOVC

Technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship are key drivers of the modern economy and social mobility. Given their importance, we should strive to improve accessibility to tech, education and entrepreneurship across all backgrounds. Creating open and inclusive communities, especially with tech is important to accomplishing this goal, but it is easier said that done. Simultaneously, a third iteration of the internet – Web3 – has the potential to radically transform the internet of things and reduce barriers to access. How can these forces be effectively harnessed and directed for the benefit of all people and move the world forward?

Varieties of Tech Capitalism: Europe's Approach to Innovation and Regulation in a Global Context
Julian Teicke, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, wefox
Lisa-Marie Fassl, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Female Founders
Christoph Keese (Topic Leader), Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer, hy

Over the past decades, the tech sector, especially the internet of things, has become a central component of modern economies. Trying to catch up with the exponential pace of technological development, the US, China, and Europe are crafting rules of the game on digital markets. What are the emerging characteristic differences between regulatory regimes of digital markets, in the US, Europe and beyond, and how do they balance innovation and regulation? In light of strategic competition over tech dominance between the US and China, what are the opportunities and challenges for Europe in particular?

Changed for Good? Engaging with the New World of Work
Petra von Strombeck, Chief Executive Officer, New Work SE
Jean-Christophe Deslarzes, Chair of the Board, Adecco Group
Nat Ware, Founder & CEO Forte
Prof. Heike Bruch (Topic Leader), Director, Institute for Leadership and Human Resources Management, University of St. Gallen
Watch Here

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world of work forever. The fast and widespread adoption of remote work and an ever-increasing concern of employees with purpose and meaning on their job have intensified the war for talents. Reaching out to and concurrently engaging employees is key for businesses across sectors and regions. What learnings can be drawn from the pandemic as regards our approach to work? Has the world of work changed for the better? And what role does leadership culture and a new approach to hiring play going forward?

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The Illusion of Talent Scarcity 

The diminishing workforce has been a constant narrative across a diverse range of sectors. It fails to recognise, however, that ‘scarcity’ is an illusion that stems from the oversight of various talent reservoirs, argues Simona Scarpaleggia for the St. Gallen Symposium.

With a world population approaching eight billion people, talk of a ‘scarcity’ within the workforce is a disingenuous argument, especially when viewed in the context of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I). Seen through the prism of DE&I, we garner a more intricate understanding of scarcity and its remedies. It similarly enables us to challenge conventional wisdom and chart a course towards innovation and sustainable growth.

An Intersectional Gap

Despite making up half the population, women, for example, still fail to be fully represented within industries pertaining to Science and Technology (the so-called STEM sectors). There is no reason for this, beyond outdated attitudes to learning that should have been discarded decades ago.

Nevertheless, in Europe alone, women only account for 19% of the total STEM workforce , leaving a huge pool of talent that is yet to be tapped. People with a disability represent only 3% of STEM employees – another missed opportunity that could be countered by embracing more comprehensive recruitment strategies to help unlock the talent pool. After all, the most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability, according to the 2020 McKinsey report “Diversity wins: How Inclusion Matters”.

Given that almost one in five (19%) of engineers are expected to retire in the next three years, engaging or re-engaging older age groups, and perhaps delaying their retirement and/or bringing them back into the fold, would also help turn ‘scarcity’ into ‘plenty’ if handled in the right way. Retraining talent is just as important as finding it in the first place, confirms the OECD report on Promoting an Age-Inclusive Workforce which finds that 57% of workers globally envision working beyond retirement but less than a third feel they have options to do so in a suitable manner.

Unlocking Untapped Potential

Diversity is one part of the answer. Equity is similarly important. Inequitable access to opportunities is another way of fabricating an illusory impression of scarcity. Conversely, by upholding equity, we can streamline the allocation of resources and prospects. Disparities in our educational systems result in a lack of skilled labor coming from deprived areas.

Levelling the playing field and improving our educational systems will grow the talent pool among communities that are traditionally overlooked. Wage inequalities similarly discourage particular groups from closer engagement. Creating more equitable remuneration, on the other hand, kindles heightened commitment, engagement and productivity within the workforce.

Inclusion is, of course, critical, since it transcends mere recruitment strategies. It forges an environment where everyone feels valued and integrated, and in doing so significantly increases employee retention rates. Diverse, multi-cultural and inclusive teams are proven to be more innovative and productive, and by cultivating a more inclusive environment, organizations can surmount the scarcity of ideas and positively galvanize innovation.

The notion of intersectionality also provides a different lens through which scarcity can be seen, benefiting from the intertwined nature of social categorizations and acknowledging that the intricate tapestry of inequality facilitates the generation of more precisely targeted and effective solutions to scarcity. Taking a global rather than a local view also helps, and by embracing cross-border diversity, we overcome regional challenges and engender a more resilient global economy.

Shifting Focus: Moving from Scarcity to DE&I

The conventional view of scarcity particularly within the workforce, fails to acknowledge the root causes of inequality and the misallocation of resources. Via the prism of DE&I, it becomes evident that the genuine remedies are steeped in embracing diversity, upholding equity, nurturing inclusivity, and grasping the intricate interplay of disparities through intersectionality.

By pivoting our focus from scarcity towards these foundational principles, we can unlock latent potential, catalyze innovation, and establish a more enduring and robust workforce. The truth of the matter is that the challenge isn’t scarcity; people are not the problem. There is no scarcity of talent, there is a shortage of imagination in how to best use our ‘people pool’ to create the workforce of the future. The real challenge is unlocking the skills with the people we have, and doing so by recognising and channeling the potency of DE&I.

Simona Scarpaleggia is a Board member to EDGE Strategy, a company leader in measuring, accelerating and certifying gender and intersectional equity in the workplace. A Non-Executive Director in different Boards of companies in Switzerland, Italy and Germany, she consults in DE&I and ESG.

Former Co-Chair of the High-Level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment of the United Nations and author of the book “Die andere Hälfte” NZZ Libro (“The Other Half” LID Publishing)

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