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
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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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Confronting Scarcity: Theme of the 53rd St.Gallen Symposium

Businesses, governments, and individuals are increasingly confronted with the reality of shrinking workforces, trade disruptions, higher costs of capital, and depleted natural resources. This multidimensional phenomenon of scarcity is here to stay – requiring us to rethink our current societal and economic models.

Since the industrial revolution, we’ve lived in an economic system predicated on high growth. For the past two decades, this growth has relied on the abundant availability of capital, labour, energy and natural resources, coupled with the advantages of global economic integration.

Yet, recent years have ushered in a new reality. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, challenges have ranged, among many others, from energy shortages in Europe, rising food insecurities across Africa and the Middle East, to disrupted supply chains and the resurgence of domestic manufacturing. While some of these waves have receded in recent months, long-term trends signal a deeper systemic shift towards an economy defined by scarcity.

Towards a Time of Protracted Scarcity

Central banks globally have raised interest rates to combat rising inflation, putting an end to an era of cheap capital that lasted nearly 15 years. This shift reverberates across industries, prompting both established businesses and emerging startups to re-evaluate their strategies.

The world’s largest powers have increasingly shifted away from free trade policies, while a more multipolar world order and growing geoeconomic tensions between East and West have led to a slowdown in globalisation. The result is increased volatility in global value chains and more frequent disruptions.

Demographic change, marked by declining birth rates and aging populations, will dramatically shrink the labour force, not only across industrialised societies such as Germany and Japan, but also in emerging economies like China. 

However, perhaps the most consequential force of all is climate change, which looms large even if humanity manages to avert its most severe effects. We are faced with a dwindling carbon budget and the critical question of how to allocate it fairly, while rising temperatures and the related crisis in biodiversity will only exacerbate food and water scarcities.

What may become a new “era of scarcity” thus touches upon fundamental aspects of economic and societal development, including capital, traded goods, labour, and natural resources. The fragility exposed over the past three years and these long-term developments underscore the need for deeper systemic change.

Striving for More or Thriving with Less?

In essence, scarcity arises when the demand for a good exceeds its supply. In response, traditional growth-centric approaches focus on increasing the supply of goods through intensified resource exploitation or substituting one resource with another, such as replacing fossil-fuelled cars with electric vehicles or automating processes to replace human labour.

Throughout history, constraints have driven efficiency gains, sparked innovation, and led to the development of new technologies. However, an approach that simply seeks to substitute scarce goods with alternatives can swiftly encounter its own scarcity challenges: “Green growth” strategies, for instance, hinge on the availability of “sustainable” resources like recycled plastics, batteries, and green hydrogen. 

Yet, the growth in demand for these resources may soon outstrip their supply, despite significant investments and innovations. Additionally, such solutions may inadvertently generate negative environmental or societal consequences and create new scarcities. This calls for a broader discussion encompassing demand-side considerations when addressing scarcity.

The St. Gallen Agenda

The 53rd St. Gallen Symposium will delve into the multifaceted, emerging challenges posed by scarcity and tackle the difficult questions they raise: To what extent can innovation, efficiency, and circular models help to deal with intensifying constraints? And where do we need to consider deeper, more radical shifts and ask whether less may, in fact, be more? Year-round and at our main symposium in May 2024, our cross-generational dialogue will explore our annual theme within five key areas:

Resilient Businesses and Economies: For decades, growth-based economic models have relied on an abundance of labour, natural resources, capital, and energy, and benefitted from global economic integration. Considering long-term developments such as demographic change, rising costs of capital, the climate crisis and geopolitical shifts, we will explore ways to address protracted scarcities through more sustainable and resilient business models.

Equitable and Effective Governance: The intensification of scarcity in recent years has elevated the role of the state in the economy: governments around the world act as investors, suppliers and regulators to meet challenges such as energy insecurity, water stress, green infrastructure and inflation. We will debate the appropriate level and type of policy intervention and geopolitical cooperation to establish durable solutions.

A Sustainable Transformation: Dominant green economy approaches centre around innovation and substituting old with new technologies. Yet, they run into their own scarcity problems, when the supply of recycled plastics, batteries, or green hydrogen does not meet demand. We will discuss the extent to which sustainable business model innovations need to be complemented by deeper, systemic changes of reducing overall consumption.

Inclusive Societies: New, protracted scarcities and their consequences in terms of rising prices and reduced supply do not affect all members of society equally. When thinking about responses, both the potential and limits of individual behavioural change and the needs society’s most vulnerable members need to be considered. What role can individuals play in societal responses to scarcity and how do we ensure social equity in light of increasing constraints?

Responsible Innovation and Technology: Whether it’s the role of artificial intelligence to replace scarce human labour, renewable energy to power the green transition, or desalination techniques for drinking water, innovation is seen as a key component of solutions. At the same time, the advent of new technologies often creates its own set of challenges. How can innovations best help to anticipate and cope with current and future scarcities at scale?

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