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
Watch Here

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?

Sign up for our Newsletter

Sign up for our Newsletter

How much is influence really worth?

In 2015, Anastasia Hronis, a Sydney-based psychologist and accomplished pianist, started posting videos on Instagram of herself playing the piano. As she posted video after video, she amassed followers. Today, her page boasts an impressive 38,000 of them – all of whom, she says, are genuinely interested in her work and her craft.

As compared with the Kardashians, each of whom have more than 75 million followers on the platform, Hronis’ following may seem paltry. But any Instagram user would attest that gathering such a large following, particularly on a page dedicated to one’s art form, is no small achievement. Most of them would also agree that Hronis is part of a new breed of digital capitalists who can make or break brands with one video or post. Called social media influencers, these new-age capitalists have not only disrupted the advertising industry, they have also forced the largest corporations on earth to sit up and take notice. According to Forbes, the global Instagram influencer marketing industry will be worth a whopping USD 2.38 billion in 2019 – at least.

So, is social media capital the capital of the future? And is it being used for purpose? Social media capital could be defined as the influence you wield on the Internet. It’s measured using the currencies of subscriptions, likes, comments, and followers. Its leading capitalists have millions of followers on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and so on. These social media entrepreneurs post both visual and written content that clicks with users. In turn, they leverage their following to get corporations to pay them thousands of dollars for one post advertising their brand or product.

Being a social media influencer can be a full-time job. Each post has to be perfect, and can take hours and even days to produce. On top of that, there are deals to negotiate, comments to answer, fans to engage, and events to attend. Considering it can also pay more than a full-time job, it can be a viable career option. Many influencers, in fact, have gone on quit their 9-to-5 jobs to focus exclusively on cultivating their social media handles.

But, to update an old saying, with a great following comes great responsibility. How are influencers, most of whom tend to be below 30, stacking up on this front? A glance at the headlines is enough to show that influencers have been repeatedly called out by scholars, journalists, and experts for spreading misleading information and fake news, promoting unhealthy body ideals, advertising brands they do not care about, being inauthentic, flouting advertising regulations, and so on. While a lot of people follow them religiously, many others think that they are famous for no real reason other than being, well, famous.

Yet, there are others who are using their social media capital more responsibly. A case in point is Rafaela Requesens, a social activist and Leader of Tomorrow from Venezuela, who could not travel to Switzerland for the symposium because of unrest in her home country. With more than 130,000 followers on Instagram, Requesens regularly posts content spreading awareness about various social and political issues in Venezuela. Another Leader of Tomorrow, Ireland’s Herman Lange, has co-founded a portal called ‘The Continent’ that seeks to combat disinformation as well as encourage debate on European issues by giving real experts a larger, more diverse audience on social media.
Bobby Jones, the Chief Marketing Officer of PeaceFirst, has worked with young people most of his life. Jones points out that even people like Kim Kardashian are using their influence now to drive positive social change. Last year, Kardashian was on the cover of Vogue to not talk about her latest vacation but to talk about prison reform. Jones also points out that Lady Gaga has always used her influence to draw attention to LGBT issues. He believes that social media platforms are still in their infancy, and we have yet to completely understand their full potential. “It’s like the infant is the most powerful person in the room,” he says.

Jones has complete faith that young people will drive social and political change, just as they have in the past. And, he says, there will be space for social media influencers to play a part in that journey. Until then, we are left to our own devices – quite literally.

Social media capital has created new-age capitalists. Many of them are using their influence for social and political change. These influencers wield enormous power and  could play a crucial role in changing the future.

Share the article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *