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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How (Not) To Restore Trust in Journalism

After a brief uptick in the spring of 2020, trust in journalism has plummeted. To regain it, media outlets should reinforce their independence from large online platforms.

At the beginning of the pandemic, trust in media was bucking the general downward trend. 

While stocks and confidence plummeted, trust in media surged. The Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update in 2020 found that “the pandemic has driven trust news sources to an all-time high”. Readers were confident that journalists would be able to explain and analyse the impact of the virus. Journalists certainly delivered. With brilliant analysesdata-driven storytelling and live blogs they offered users a holistic view of the pandemic.

But after the initial uptick in trust, confidence began to slip. In February 2021, the same researchers that had assessed an “all-time high” in media trust noted that “the global infodemic has driven trust in all news sources to record lows”. 

How did trust in media go from an “all-time high” to “record lows” in the span of less than twelve months? 

In order to reverse the trend, we need to fully grasp what caused the decline. At the core is the wave of mis- and disinformation that readers faced across the globe. In March 2020, the UN declared a global ‘infodemic’. As then-Secretary of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted, “we’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic”. Misinformation, he concluded, “spreads fast and more easily than the virus”. And it spreads predominantly on social media networks.

Fact-Checkers and Scientists to the Rescue

So, how can media regain this lost trust? The first and most crucial part of the response is a no-brainer. Outlets need to continue their efforts to curb mis- and disinformation and to do so, work closely with the fact-checking community, for example the researchers that work with the International Fact Checking Network

Recent research showed that fact-checkers have been working overtime since the start of the pandemic. Unfortunately, most fact-checking sites are still only available in a single language. What’s missing is a single multilingual platform that provides these fact-checks and corrections. Especially during a global pandemic, we would all benefit from a go-to platform for translated fact checks.

A Balancing Act with Big Tech

A second part of the strategy to regain trust will be a delicate recalibration of the relationship between news outlets and big tech companies. As I mentioned earlier, the main distributors of mis- and disinformation are social media networks. In a recent interview, Harvard’s Professor of Health Communication, Kasisomayajula “Vish” Viswanath, noted that “social media platforms are one of the most significant abettors to the spread of misinformation and disinformation”. Quantitative evidence, again from the Edelman Trust Barometer, finds that Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter are the most distrusted sources of information. They are, however, also the most common source of news. 

Herein lies the major challenge for media outlets in the year ahead. On the one hand, news outlets need to work with the social media giants to restore trust. The pandemic made it abundantly clear that publishers are increasingly dependent on the reach – and ads – of the big tech companies. There is no avoiding them, even if some journalists would prefer to do so. 

The strategy needs to be about lobbying the Silicon Valley giants as the most trusted ‘content creators’ on their sites. While Twitter and Facebook have the users, the New York Times and Le Monde provide the quality content that users seek. Publishers need to leverage their power more to get the tech companies to actively combat misinformation and disinformation. They’re increasingly supported by governments and non-governmental watchdogs. 

On the other hand, publishers need to maintain independence from big tech if they want to regain trust. A study of German publishers found that working closely with Facebook and Google raises suspicions among readers who doubt their impartiality. This balancing act will certainly affect the credibility of media outlets.

The Shifting Ground of Reporting

Aside from mis- and disinformation, I believe there’s a further factor that explains the decline in trust. One that really gets to the heart of journalism. During the pandemic, media has quite simply not been able to deliver all the answers that readers have been longing for. Leading outlets routinely revise reports as new scientific evidence pours in, making it harder for readers to ‘trust’ what they are reading. Reporting, even in the very best cases, mirrors the scientific and political debate – a constant back and forth on shifting ground and new territory. Not exactly a great foundation for trust-building. 

Fortunately, post-pandemic life is now in sight. A return from crisis mode to the ‘new ‘normal’’ will hopefully reduce general uncertainty, fear and mistrust. And hopefully readers will then reward the brilliant work of journalists across the globe with the trust they deserve. 

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