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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‘Identity should be understood as fluid.’

Fatima Bhutto was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1982. Her father, Murtaza, was in exile after a military junta executed her grandfather, Pakistan’s first democratically elected head of state. Bhutto spent her childhood in Damascus, Syria, before returning to Pakistan. She studied Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures at Columbia University and completed a Masters in South Asian Government and Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She published her first book, a volume of poetry called Whispers of the Desert, when she was 15 years old. Her latest novel, ‘The Runaways,’ poses difficult questions about modern identity and radicalisation.

Your novel, ‘The Runaways,’ traces the path of three youngsters who end up in a jihadist camp in Mosul. Why are you interested in the topic of radicalisation?

Radicalisation is something that has been widely discussed but very rarely understood. I feel like the discussion is always very shallow. It never tries to understand why somebody could be radicalised.

What does the West not understand about radicalisation?

The West assumes that radicalisation only impacts young Muslims. There is no conversation about alienation or isolation or pain. Politics or nationalism radicalise people, not religion. In fact, an established religious background protects you. If you look at young people who are being radicalised, they do not know anything about Islam. What makes them prone to exploitation is a feeling of hopelessness, a feeling of exclusion – and that affects many more people than just Muslims.

Does this mean that the West makes people feel alienated first, and then drawn towards violence?

Radicalism is a complex set of things that come together. Part of it is alienation, part of it is a lack of education and anger. And part of it, yes, does belong to the West. If we look at Austria, where a government official says that immigrants are rats, what does that do to people with migrant backgrounds? If you are an American and you are listening to Trump saying “we do not want people like them here, these are shithole countries,” what does that make you feel? Like you have a place in that society? No. If you do not give your young people a vision for their future, they will take any other vision that is offered.

Doesn’t talking about ‘the West’ further perpetuate the East-versus-West narrative that partly leads people to radical Anti-Western groups?

The West, in other words white America and Europe, is very happy to be called “the West” when it comes to being classified as a superpower. But they are uncomfortable if it has to do with migrants, minorities or integration. A lot of the things that we see in the West today come from this deep annoyance at having to be answerable to people who used to be your subjects. Look at Brexit: One of the posters showed people running across a hill with the slogan “the migrants are coming” – this is from a country that invaded the world. For 400 years, it had its people in other people’s countries, and they cannot take 60 years of immigration?

We are talking a lot about problems with language, people not seeing the whole picture, excluding people. What is the solution?

I think that is a problem for states. They have to integrate more. If people are woven deeply into the fabric of society, it is going to be harder for them to extricate themselves from it and to turn against it. Governments spend enormous sums on war, but not on educational programmes, skills training or arts programmes.

Why is it important, then, to be concerned with the radicalisation of Muslims rather than white supremacists or the gender of terrorists?

Absolutely, we have to expand that conversation. If we look at neo-Nazis, in many ways they are motivated by the same impulse: They are people who feel isolated from their society. They are people who do not feel that they have a future anymore. The same impulses motivate all these radicals, whatever ideology they subscribe to. But there is a resistance, at least in the media, to having this conversation. Take the English-language coverage of the New Zealand shooter. The Daily Mail had a picture of the sort of angelic-looking blond baby, saying: “Look at this beautiful boy! What happened to him to make him radical?” That is not the same reaction they have for the Sri Lanka suicide bombers. But when I travel to all these countries, I also find people who are not resistant to dialogue. People in the West want to have a conversation about  white supremacy and the rise of white supremacist violence, too.

Xenophobia against Muslims has reached a critical level. Do you think that is a new phenomenon?

No, it is not new at all. People always attack a minority. And it is not new even in the Muslim case: For almost 20 years, we have had to apologise for [9/11], something none of us had anything to do with. If you look at the number of people involved in radical acts of violence, and the population of Muslims, they are not even a fraction. It is super upsetting that we are constantly engaging in the same blaming of minorities. Tony Blair said recently: “Migrants should integrate better to stop populism.” Why is it the migrants’ fault? The family that comes from Syria, it is their fault? Why is it not Tony Blair’s responsibility to behave better? That is crazy.

Identity politics used to make people feel secure and integrated, like they can join forces to solve common problems. These days, we see people joining forces against “the other” instead, excluding people based on skin color or religion. What would a new approach to identity politics look like?

I think identity should always be understood as fluid. It should never be forced that somebody has to be the same person their whole life. In Asian or Middle Eastern philosophies, you are not the same person right now that you were five minutes ago or yesterday. I think outside the West, we do understand identity and time differently.
It is nice to finally have these discussions, whether we talk about gender, belonging, or identity. I think we should be a lot more forgiving and a lot more open and  understanding of people’s experiences, of their journeys, and struggles. Your identity is not a ticket that you get at birth. It is always in movement, it is always changing and growing with you.

Home, identity—these discussions are determined by Western voices. Why do we not hear voices like yours more often?

I do not know. It depends on where youare. If I am in Pakistan, I hear a lot of voices like mine. That is one of the great things, to meet different people, to see different people. I think the internet helps. I think we do not have an excuse to not hear other voices. I do not have to live in Pakistan to read a Pakistani writer: I can look them up, I can do some research. I am positive that this is changing. Forums like the St. Gallen Symposium are good places to introduce new ideas, and new people.

So what can we do to give room to these voices?

You can not give voice because a voice is not yours to give. What you can give is your attention. When I come to St. Gallen, I am invited to speak, but I also come to hear what other people have to say. And I am curious to be asked questions. I think part of it is being open to the lives of other people.

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