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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‘Many biases are not written in the law.’

Arancha González is the Executive Director of the International Trade Center, which helps small and medium-sized enterprises to become more competitive and connect to international markets. In 2016, the ITC launched the SheTrades initiative to empower women through trade as a contribution to the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

What is the situation for women entrepreneurs today?

What we have today is a big market failure. Only one out of five exporters is a woman-owned business. There are specific obstacles – in the form of laws, regulations, policies, discriminatory access to finance, limited access to networks, culture and norms – that relegate many women entrepreneurs to less productive parts of the economy. As a result, women lose, economies lose, society loses.

What can women entrepreneurs do to tackle these obstacles?

This is not just a discussion by women for women. It has to be a discussion about the structural transformation of our economies. We need decisive steps from governments and businesses, but we also need to make men and women more conscious of the gaps and the biases that exist in our society.

What kind of biases are limiting the participation of women in the economy?

Some of them are written in the law: there are professions where women cannot work, and countries where women cannot own assets or property. These biases are very explicit. However, there are many biases that are not written in the law. They are written in our genes. It’s how we look at the world, how we look at these female entrepreneurs, how we behave when they come to us and ask for credit.

Access to capital is one of the main problems for women entrepreneurs. Why do women have less access to investments?

There is no scarcity of capital. There is capital, but it is not connected businesses owned by women. Part of the problem has to do with the business: Many female-owned businesses are informal or too small and therefore considered too risky. But there is another part of the story: the financial sector. We have seen women being denied access to credit or capital not because they weren’t trustworthy, but because they were women. This is a problem not only because it is discriminatory, but also because we are not unlocking a huge source of potential that exists in our economies.

Arancha González

McKinsey & Company did an interesting study: It calculated that if all existing discrimination against women were removed, it would be the equivalent of adding an economy the size of the US and China put together. The financial sector cannot ignore these women-owned businesses. Although sometimes they are smaller and their short-term  margins are not that big, in the long term we would create a huge economy that doesn’t exist today.

How is the ITC trying to free this potential and empower women?

Through the SheTrades initiative, we want to connect 3 million women to the economy by 2021. That’s actually a modest number, since there are 1 billion women disconnected from our economy today. At the ITC we are working on private funds that are de-risked through public financing to provide credit to women-owned businesses, which is what they need to move from micro- to small and from small- to medium-sized businesses.

The SheTrades initiative works through country-based activities. Why?

No country in this world has yet achieved full gender equality, but the problems are different depending on the countries. In Japan, for instance, the empowerment of women is about work-life balance, access to childcare facilities, habits and norms in the working environment. In other countries the problem is about gender-based violence, the pay gap, or laws that do not allow women to work in certain sectors. They all have something in common: they are not leveraging the potential of women in our economies.

SheTrades empowers women by connecting them to the economy. How important is access to business networks for women entrepreneurs?

Networks are not just where you get your connections. Networks are also about mentoring and coaching. They are about inspiring and giving motivation. However, women are less present in business networks. This is why it is very important to focus on building more of these networks for women-owned businesses.

Are you optimistic about reaching the 2030 UN Global Goals?

On our current trajectory, we will not reach the UN goals by 2030. We are living in a very turbulent world and while some governments have agreed to act for the empowerment of women and girls, there are also many others moving backwards, reneging on commitments they had made before. This is why the global goals are so important: they have to be a reminder that we have agreed to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, leaving no one behind.

Ending discrimination against women would add value to the global economy comparable to the GDP of the US and China put together.


The Global Human Capital Report 2017 by the World Economic Forum (WEF) found that only 62% of global human capital is classified as “developed.” One of the main deviating factors was education systems being “disconnected from the skills needed to function in today’s labour markets.”
As a result, lots of human potential, or human capital, is being wasted because of restricted access to factors such as education. Leaders of Tomorrow are working to remove those barriers.
One of them is Mariane Tonello of Ensina Brasil, a non-profit organisation aiming to transform education in Brazil. “We want to develop the next education ministers and secretaries, the next education NGO founders and leaders,” Tonello says. The organisation works to encourage teachers to value not only their jobs, but the impact they can create as a result of being a leader in the classroom.
Himani Sancheti, Leader of Tomorrow and Young India Fellow at Ashoka University, takes a more philosophical approach. She wrote a bold Wings of Excellence Award essay focusing on using “financial capital to build human capital.”
By balancing “perspective-building” with traditional skill-building, Sancheti says, we can unlock a different part of our potential. Curricular reform, emphasising a historical approach to psychology, philosophy, history, economics, and art, would give people a deeper understanding of the present. “We will be able to connect ourselves to what we study, and exams will function so much better, because every child will understand why they are studying something,” Sancheti says.
There is no “silver bullet” for tackling education reform. But “we are going in the right direction,” Tonello says. – Connor Bilboe

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