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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Interview with a Leader of Tomorrow 2019 – Oktoviano Gandhi, Cofounder of Alva Energi

Oktoviano Gandhi received his Master of Physics degree from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, in 2015. He is currently working towards a Ph.D. at the National University of Singapore (NUS). On the research front, Oktoviano has worked on the engineering aspects of solar cells and modules, all the way to analysing policies’ impact on energy intensity. Through Alva Energi, the company that he co-founded, Oktoviano is now channelling his expertise in solar energy, rural electrification, electricity grid planning, and energy policy to promote renewable energy development in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. He was invited as a Leader of Tomorrow to the 49th St. Gallen Symposium.

After your Master’s degree in physics at Oxford, you became very interested in renewable energy. How did this come about?

In Oxford, physics is very theoretical, and it seems removed from the real world. And I really wanted to do something more practical. I strongly admire the people who are doing this very fundamental research because they are truly building our knowledge about the world, yet the applications will only be usable in about 20 to 30 years. Like Einstein’s theory of relativity: now it is used a lot for example in GPS, but the knowledge has been there since the 1915/1920s. So whilst studying I went to Brazil to the University of Sao Paolo for an internship in energy policy. There, I gained so much knowledge about energy policies and how energy is a very important necessity for everybody. Also, I saw the significance of energy for economic development. Brazil is quite similar to Indonesia in terms of development and its agricultural society. And I wanted to bring what I learned back to Indonesia to somewhat contribute to my home country.

Now coming from physics, what I understood most was nuclear. Yet nuclear is a bit more controversial. Even very advanced societies have had horrendous accidents. And in less developed countries it is even more risky as the safety precautions are often not as strict. Solar energy has the strong advantage of being very modular. You can have very small quantities for a house or a village, but you can also power a whole city. Nuclear energy has to be used in a large-scale powering; in smaller communities this is not an option.

In many developed countries everyone has access to energy and the people take it for granted, yet in many parts of the world there are millions of people who do not have access to electricity or even clean water. These people need the energy and I believe that solar energy could be a solution for these kinds of communities.

Whilst doing my research I saw that your business Alva Energi has its slogan: “Energy for All”.

Yes, I was just talking to another participant, and he mentioned that usually people assume renewable energy is something reserved for more developed countries as they have the resources to invest in it. However, countries that are less developed or even war torn need the access to electricity and water. Solar energy which is so modular may even be portable so in fact this electricity can be highly useful to them.

How did Alva Energi come about?

There was never an “aha” moment. I would say it was more a continuous learning process. After I came back from Brazil, I continued my Master’s in the UK, and I was thinking what I should do with my life now that I’ll have my degree. It was clear to me that I wanted to go into energy but that was just about it. At first, I wished to get a job in solar energy somewhere. But at that time in the UK solar energy companies were either very small and therefore could not sponsor my visa or they were large companies starting off in the field of solar energy, but they would only hire people with 10 to 20 years of experience – experience which I still do not have now. And that led me to thinking if I want to position myself as a solar energy expert later on, I should consider also doing a Ph.D. in it to get the knowledge and the credentials. Whilst doing my Ph.D. in Singapore I ordered solar panels online to learn how they work. I started with simple things like charging my phone with them additionally I began participating in community projects to learn more about the underground circumstances. To help these people, I believe a top down approach would be wrong I needed to also understand their needs.

Whilst visiting some Indonesian islands for a community project we realized that there were already systems like solar panels donated by different government entities. But the problem is that it’s a top down approach. Government entities come deliver and install the systems, and then they leave without any transfer of knowledge. The people didn’t have access to capital needed to buy components, or they didn’t know where to get them or how to fix the panels. So that’s where we started, we organised capital and fixed the systems. We try not only to get the broken systems working again but to teach the people about the maintenance and how they can repair certain parts of the systems. We are trying to do more and more of what we think is meaningful and can be sustainable for the people and ourselves.

What are future plans for Alva Energi?

I believe the gathering of knowledge will never stop. Like the speaker earlier just mentioned you must always continue learning or you will be eaten, and I do not want to be eaten. At the moment unfortunately we are all still part-time. I will be finishing my Ph.D. In July and August and then I will go full time into Alva Energi and I would say that will be the start.

There are still quite a lot of barriers for a large-scale electrification implementation. We will keep on trying to create an impact partnering with more NGOs and more government officials trying to scale it with funding of the local government. Currently, Indonesia is still more focused on fossil fuels because there are still many strong players in the fossil fields with influence in the government policies and of course they want to keep their piece of the cake. However, the cake is expanding, and people need more energy as the economy is developing and I think it is important for renewable energy to also take a part of the cake. So that it is more sustainable, and it goes more into the capital for purpose as renewable energy is not only a short-term solution.

Is there any advice you could give to other young people wanting to make an impact?

At the end of the day, like NIKE says it “Just do it”. I believe a lot of people have great ideas they wish to implement, yet they don’t do it because nobody likes uncertainty. But a lot of us have the privilege that even if the paycheck doesn’t come, we won’t go hungry or have to sleep under the bridge so why not make use of that privilege if you have found your way of making impact. Take up the courage and go.

But I believe everybody makes an impact no matter if they start their own business or do research or work in a company. Starting your own business is not the way for everyone. There is a carrier guide that I find very useful called 80’000 hours. It’s from an organisation based in Oxford and it tries to find a customised solution for everyone wanting to make an impact.

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