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
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?

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Celebrating 50 Years of Cross-Generational Dialogue

In 1970, conflict defined the relationship between generations. As students elsewhere took to the streets to protest, a few in St. Gallen took a different approach. More than half a century later, the conference they started is still going strong. In May, hundreds of International Student Committee Alumni gathered to celebrate the St. Gallen Symposium’s 50th anniversary.

In 1970 the St. Gallen Symposium took place for the first time, and was due to celebrate its 50th anniversary in the spring of 2020. But – as it did so many other things – the coronavirus pandemic disrupted those plans, too: the event waspostponed entirely in 2020 and held in a hybrid format in 2021. It was only this year that the 50-year-anniversary of the symposium could be celebrated in person, a special occasion that brought together more than 460 alumni of the International Students’ Committee (ISC), the organising body of the symposium.

More than 50 per cent of this community, including representatives of 48 out of the 50 former organising committees, signed up to attend, a tremendous turnout testifying to the deep bonds among the ISC community. Arriving from 15 different countries, they all gathered the Saturday after the symposium at the SQUARE, the University of St. Gallen’s brand new learning centre opened only three months ago. This modernist glass structure, designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, was the venue for a relaxed brunch in the morning and a festive dinner in the evening. Debate over a New Generational Contract, hiking in the Appenzell Alps or a taste of St. Gallen’s beer culture were on offer to round out the program.

Among the alumni present, Christoph Loos, CEO of the multinational power tool manufacturer Hilti, remembershis time as part of the 22nd Organising Committee as the activity that, in four years of university, taught him the most. “I matured and picked up a number of skills and self-confidence that, in a normal student life, I would not have,” Loos says. Christian Sutter, president of the ISC Alumni Commitee and member of the 46th and 47th Organising Committees, recently co-founded the app “Mympact”, measuring the carbon footprint of purchases. He calls the ISC a “school of life”: it’s where he met many of his business partners, and he considers it one of the reasons for his post-ISC success.

At the centre of the alumni gathering was Wolfgang Schürer, who founded the St. Gallen Symposium and the ISC in 1970. At the time, student-led riots had spread from France to other European countries, including Switzerland, as a protest against the conservative social establishment, while in Czechoslovakia, the brief period of cultural liberalisation known as the Prague Spring was crushed when Soviet tanks came rolling in.

It was an era when the generational divide seemed insurmountable, and the concept of a cross-generational symposium was something unusual. “There was scepticism among our professors and fellow students, as well as government and private sector representatives, who thought, ‘if students went to the streets with stones in their hands and lit fires, why would they suddenly be looking for dialogue?’” Schürer recalls. “We had to do some intense effort to convince them that this was a serious approach. And then we were able to generate interest.” Schürer’s founding role was celebrated by several speeches, including by former German President Horst Köhler. In a recorded video message played on a screen, Köhler praised Schürer for his “commitment and engagement” and called for today’s younger generations to “respect what previous generations have accomplished but still have the courage to realise their own ideas”. To that end, organisers also announced a Monika and Wolfgang Schürer Award to honour promising cross-generational initiatives every year from now on, of which the two namesakes were the inaugural recipients.

As the St. Gallen Symposium goes into its second half-century, alumni say, maintaining this platform of dialogue will be a challenge requiring constant effort from future organising committees. For Sutter, the ISC can always be even more proactive in inviting and including diverse voices, but the structure of the committee, each year composed of a new, younger generation of students, gives him confidence: “this is what allows us to always maintain new impulses and what allows the St. Gallen Symposium to remain at the cutting edge”.

Check out the full video interview with Wolfgan Schürer, founder of the St. Gallen Symposium

Videographer: Christopher Leroux

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