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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Have we reached the end of retirement?

Counting the days until Friday. Packing up your office, saying goodbye to your colleagues, and going home. From Monday on, being idle. The idea of cliff-edge retirement is rarely appealing anymore. Life after work is a fast-changing concept that needs to be adapted to modern times.

Working longer

Yair Piña López is a Mexican physics student who works as an analogue astronaut for NASA. He goes on missions that simulate Mars’ conditions on Earth to conduct research that will help design future trips to that planet.
However, as much as he may love his job, Piña plans to retire at around 35 in order to have time to build a family. Lisa Kikuchi, a Japanese entrepreneur in the agri-tech business, dreams of retiring at around 40, to enjoy her life and think about what she has achieved. “Maybe after a decade I’ll have the energy again and decide to go back to work and start something new,” she says.

Such unorthodox life plans reflect a new reality: Some well-educated young people want their retirement to differ radically from that of their parents. “The Japanese government may be able to support my father and his generation, but I cannot expect the same when my time comes,” says Kikuchi, who is 29.

Kikuchi’s attitude reflects a growing understanding that individuals must prepare for retirement: Workers need to plan the lifestyle they want and save the money they will  need. Yet early retirement, the way she or Piña imagine it, is a luxury that the vast majority of the world population cannot even dream of. So, is retirement really a planned decision or more about individual circumstances?

Given that people are healthier for longer, the trend seems to be towards people retiring later, not earlier. Many workers have the capacity and motivation to carry on working for longer than the traditional retirement age. Rather than a so-called “cliff-edge” retirement, numerous people are opting for a phased leave-taking, explains George  Magnus, a British economist and author of the book “The Age of Ageing.” They either do something else a few times a week or keep working in their chosen fields on a  part-time or flexible basis.

According to Matt Flynn, the director of the Centre for Research into the Older Workforce in the UK, “what defines the right time for a person to retire is when they are capable of leaving work and have the desire to do so.” Everybody should have a stake in managing their career, he says.

For some people, of course, it is much easier to continue working than for others. It becomes especially hard for those who have jobs that require physical strength, such as construction workers, paramedics or firefighters. A better model needs to be created, “in which people can change roles later in life, similar to how younger people change jobs,” says Flynn.

Lump of labour fallacy

Not everyone agrees. “Just because you are living longer does not mean that you should cling to your formal job. You should leave space for the younger generations,” says Bogolo Kenewendo, who became Botswana’s Cabinet Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry in April 2018.

Magnus, however, argues that the belief that there is a fixed amount of work available is what economists call the “lump of labour” fallacy, which seem intuitive at first but lacks empirical evidence to back it up. “In fact, we can let older people keep working or have different occupations for longer in life,” Magnus says. “That should not take away the  jobs that might otherwise go to younger people, which will probably be different jobs anyway.” And, at least in the Western world, the ageing problem is not so much about people living longer, but about not having enough children.

But for Kenewendo, making room is not just about vacating a position. She says older people must monitor and direct the younger generations in order “to bridge the gap.” For the 30-year-old economist and politician, retiring means leaving a formal job – but not stopping impact work.

Dream retirement

According to Magnus, the social security system is a clear priority when it comes to making different forms of retirement possible. It needs to be changed and adapted: the commitment governments have made to provide pensions and healthcare will someday become unaffordable.

This challenge is something that the younger generation should think about: After all, they are the ones with the strength to demand changes and the ones most affected. But not all have opinions as clear as Piña, Kikuchi, and Kenewendo. Magnus admits it is usually hard to get young people interested in this topic. “People tend to start thinking  about retirement when it is almost time for them to retire,” he says.

That, experts say, is too late. “We need to have a grown-up discussion about entitlements and the tax burden,” says Magnus. “We have to find a ways to fund the ageing society that go beyond simply raising revenues. This is very much about education and productivity.”

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