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 Gaurav Narang, Founder and CEO of City Greens

How is it returning to the St. Gallen Symposium? Last time you were here, you were a Leader of Tomorrow at the 37th St. Gallen Symposium.

Being here in 2007 was an experience which I always cherished. I had never seen a symposium of this large scale and it had been the first time for me to visit a place outside my home country India. Having been a Leader of Tomorrow has been an amazing experience so much that in the past I had tried to return. When I received the call that I would be invited to this year’s symposium, I was thrilled. What I enjoy especially about the St. Gallen Symposium is that whilst other business symposia are oriented to business problems the St. Gallen Symposium is always about a cause. I believe no one is really here for business most of them are here in order to contribute good ideas and something that can shape the future.

Now you are CEO and founder of the company City Greens. How did City Greens come about?

City Greens is my second venture. My first venture was into healthcare: we were into specialty pharmacy, and we built up India’s largest specialty pharmacy business. It was a very specific business model. We worked with different companies to reduce the price on medicine. Because there are one billion people in India, which is a huge market, there is the possibility of drastically decreasing the price of medicine due to the great market. One mistake that we did and that is very relevant to this year’s topic is we put purpose before capital. Fortunately, we had a very good exit since we had built a very good brand with a great network. When another company acquired us, I had to sign a waiver that I would not work in the healthcare field for 2 years. I was forced to find a new field.

Whilst in healthcare I had worked with many cancer patients and whilst studying into it I found out that many cancers are put into place due to what we are eating. If you buy something that is organic there is a certain process behind it but in India there are over 50 pesticides still in use that are illegal in various other countries. Now, I do not blame them for using pesticides because if they stop using them the productivity of the crops will drastically go down and in India importing food is not an option.

I then informed myself about growing food yourself or on farms without having to use pesticides. And I told myself I already had one company – set it up, scaled in up, made it the largest in India in terms of network and sold it. So, in my second venture I didn’t necessarily want to become rich but I wanted to do something good and that is how the company started. We are now two years into existence and so far we have not used a single drop of pesticide. Then we decided to change the business model and teach others how to do it.

Yes, I saw on your website you can not only find exactly which products you may need but also courses. Are there a lot of people wanting to know how to grow pesticide free food?

So, we get at least 3 to 4 inquiries a day, which is a lot. We do not offer more than 4 courses a year and each course only has 25 seats. The reason behind this is I believe I can truly transfer my knowledge to 25 people and a lot of the people who have visited the courses begin setting up farms.

Right now, we are setting up a pesticide free farm where we are teaching the process of growing nutritious food in an urban environment, near to cities, pesticide free.

That is wonderful that you truly take care that there is a transfer of knowledge. I believe especially in India it is crucial that the people are educated on the matter.

Yes, but the problem is the strong cost differential. In comparison to Switzerland food costs in India are 10%. But if I use my technology it will be 50%. Now for a Swiss citizen that is still a more than reasonable price yet for an Indian, food becomes 400% premium. Due to this my market is currently limited to the metros.

But people are very knowledgeable still they do not know that organic food does contain pesticides. Organic guidelines allow a list of organic pesticides as well as 20 inorganic pesticides and you still may call your product organic. Unfortunately, barely someone knows of this because as a consumer you don‘t download the policy and read it and the organic lobby will never talk about it.

So yesterday at the Leader of Tomorrow Day one of the main themes was each company must have a purpose even though it may change over the course of time. How would you define the purpose of City Greens?

Let me start with the topic of “Capital for Purpose“ before talking about the purpose of my venture. As I have previously mentioned, I had to sell out my first venture. My first venture had a strong purpose, but I made the mistake of putting the purpose before capital and it was no longer sustainable. With City Greens I also have a purpose of making sure that everyone has access to safe and healthy food. Yet this time around I am putting capital a little ahead, meaning I need to make money because only then I can make sure that it will grow to a big company and the purpose will be achieved. In my experience capital and purpose must be balanced.

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