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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Emerging Principles of a New Generational Contract

What do we owe each other and future generations? Having asked this and similar questions through global surveys, student essays and cross-generational dialogues, our initiative and global community build on seven emerging principles for a New Generational Contract – developed in close partnership with the University of St. Gallen Collegium.

At the 76th United Nations General Assembly session in 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned governments and businesses of a growing intergenerational divide. Young people, he said, will “inherit the consequences – good and bad” of decisions made by today’s leaders in politics and business.  The UN’s Secretary-General is right that the need to consider the impact of our current decisions on the world left to today’s youth is greater than ever. Multiple ecological crises, intensifying resource scarcities and rising inequities demonstrate that current systems are unsustainable. A lack of future-oriented decision-making will affect current, and particularly future generations: the more than 10 billion people projected to be alive by the end of the century, compared to around 8 billion alive today.

Addressing this challenge, the generational contract captures an aspirational idea: that young and old depend on each other and are bound by mutual relationships and responsibilities. It also reminds us of the importance of being good ancestors and of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Today, living up to this idea through our actions is more relevant – but also more challenging – than ever: We need to simultaneously face immediate crises and pursue long-term transformations. So far, we have rarely been able to bring both perspectives together. For too long, a focus on immediate challenges has trumped our concern for longer-term developments. This reinforces a vicious cycle, where short-sighted responses lay the seeds for subsequent crises and urgent structural change is continuously postponed.

While intergenerational relations play out differently across the world’s regions and cultures, there is a growing desire – and need – to reaffirm and renew the ties that bind us across generations. Ultimately, this can act as a crucial lever in advancing systems thinking and transformation: by harnessing the human potential of intergenerational solidarity and learning for the significant changes that lie ahead.

Therefore, the St. Gallen Symposium and the Club of Rome have launched a joint initiative: A New Generational Contract. By convening diverse partners, we foster dialogue and actions around our responsibility for today and tomorrow. In this way, our initiative contributes to a growing global recognition of the need for change. This includes the UN Secretary General’s “Our Common Agenda”, which foresees the creation of a UN Envoy for Future Generations and a Summit for the Future to be held in September 2024.

Principles for Change

In doing so, we are guided by key principles which can serve as values and vision for reaffirming and renewing generational relationality on the levels of individuals, organisations, and communities. They primarily propose the hallmarks of positive collaboration across generations: how the idea of an intergenerational commitment to mutual and future-related responsibilities can be practised.

These principles build on thousands of voices having shared their aspirations with us throughout the past two years, through global surveys, student essays, and research on intergenerational fairness, as well as a stream of global dialogues around frictions and common ground between generations, hosted together with the University of St. Gallen and the St. Gallen Collegium, as well as other partners, such as the 5th Element, the Learning Planet Alliance, the UN SDG Lab and the BCG Henderson Institute.

The New Generational Contract is also an invitation to define and pursue tangible actions on the level of organisations, communities, and societies through a process inspired by these principles. This is what our ongoing work, through dialogue and at as well as beyond the 52nd St. Gallen Symposium, aspires to do: translating principles into actionable, sector- or region-specific priorities of what we need to do – as individuals, business leaders or policy-makers – to help bring generations together, and to better combine a short term with a long-term view. They will equally be enacted in tangible impact projects, three of which have already been launched in 2022.

Responsibility: Considering our Impact Today and Tomorrow

The principle of responsibility is at the very heart of the generational contract and permeates all principles: it captures the idea that young and old depend on each other to provide mutual support and reminds us to consider our impact on future generations.

Yet, our current incentive structures, institutionalised practices, and mental models prevent us from living up to this idea, as they focus our attention squarely on the here and now. Renewing a sense of responsibility ultimately outlines a transformative agenda: of what we believe we owe future generations, how we structure our economies, organisations, and institutions, and how we conceive of incentives and accountability that drive responsible action.

“Our impulsiveness and myopia often bias us towards the paths that prioritise short-term gains and overlook the ramifications of our decisions.” Somdeepa Das, India (GEC Student Essay)

Care: Seeing and Supporting Each Other

All of us are interconnected and embedded in different webs of human relations. We are carers and recipients of care, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes at specific stages of our lives. In other words: We are obliged to care for and about each other— care is a daily practice as well as an ethical perspective.

In caring for each other, we lend each other support and are mindful of specific vulnerabilities associated with different stages of life – such as providing education for the young and support for the elderly. In caring about each other, we go beyond generational prejudices and stereotypes and strive to truly understand each other’s perspective, our unique knowledge and needs.

“We need to focus on being kind and ensuring that kindness is shown across generations and passed from one to another.” Nicholas Parker, United States (GEC Student Essay)

Voice: Being Heard and Having a Say

Young and old are affected differently by actions – or non-actions – we take today. By promoting voice, we seek to ensure that different generations have equal opportunities to learn from each other and to express their opinions and be heard in decision-making processes. Yet, little is as strongly associated with access to power and influence as age. For instance, while the average age of the world population is around 30 years, it is 53 for parliamentarians globally and 57.3 for new directors of boards in S&P 500 companies in 2022.

The question of representation is even more challenging when we think of future generations, as it can only be indirect – and knowing their interests will ultimately remain our speculation. Yet, examples such as the Future Generations Commissioner of Wales show that we can promote accountability towards plausible interests of those that come after us: by proactively assessing decisions’ impact on the medium- and long-term future and challenging decision-makers to demonstrate how they are taking account of future generations.

“It is imperative that the voice of the younger generations be heard when policies are crafted. Governments should sparhead the creation of platforms for young people to convene and discuss issues.” Bryan Kwang Shing Tan, China (GEC Student Essay)

Collaboration: Joining Forces and Perspectives

The scale and intergenerational nature of current and persistent crises requires cross-generational collaboration: We can attain more than we would independently, by working together. In collaborating, we acknowledge the power of joining forces across generations, bringing together our unique experiences, skills, and perspectives. At the same time, we recognise the efforts which collective action takes: in terms of listening, trust, and mutual understanding, as we bring together conflicting interests, diverse values and distinct histories.

Collaboration’s challenging nature and positive potential can equally be felt within organisations where at least four different generations work side by side. The fact that ageism has been found to be the most common form of workplace discrimination underlines the need for active efforts to build a culture of cross-generational trust. Only then can we unlock the unique strengths of cross-generational teams, which are key to inclusive work environments, more holistic decision-making and seamless organisational memory.

“While we seek to collaborate with one another, it is our responsibility to heal, to practise compassion and empathy, and build emotional intelligence.” Gia Lim, Singapore (NGC Workshop, February 2023)

Hindsight and Foresight: Looking Back to See Ahead

Generations past and present tend to focus on the short-term, which may seem most pressing, fast, and certain. In other words, our thinking is dominated by the here and now. However, most intergenerational challenges have an important temporal dimension. This calls for both hindsight and foresight: looking back to understand and build on experiences and insights from the past, and looking forward, to cultivate visions and gauge potential – positive or negative – consequences of our current actions on the future, while being aware of the uncertainties and limitations of “knowing the future”.

Ultimately, this means to think, decide, and act on multiple timescales, and to identify the dilemmas and synergies which may arise between the short- and the long-term. We thus become not only better ancestors for those who follow, but also more understanding successors of those who preceded us.

“As youth, we can use the experiences of older generations to see farther into the future and understand the path that may lie ahead.” Mercy-Gloria Ashepet, Uganda (NGC Workshop, February 2023)

Regeneration: Revitalising and Protecting Ecosystems

Regeneration needs to be at the heart of our societies and our organisations. Regeneration goes further than sustainability and circular economy concepts and their technical mindsets. In emphasising regeneration, we acknowledge the need to work together, not just to ‘sustain’ our current way of life, but to repair and recover from social, ecological and economic damage already done, and restore, revitalise, and protect the planetary ecosystems which support all life.

It is about aiming for a healthy relationship with nature and with ourselves. Exploring regeneration implies becoming a learner, moving from optimising to taking care. The principle of regeneration equally challenges companies and organisations to take actionable steps to align their value creation with the ecosystems around them.

“Youth will inherit the consequences of climate inaction and represent critical actors with energy, expertise and impact. They must be given a seat at the table.” Andrea Byfuglien, Norway (NGC Workshop, February 2023)

Openness: Striving for a Living Contract

Some societal and planetary challenges have been with generations prior, effectively address them will require the dedication of generations to come. Hitherto unknown and unforeseeable crises and problems will, however, inevitably concern us and our successors in the future. This calls for flexibility and adaptability, curiosity and an explorative attitude both of our mind-sets and our objectives.

Consequently, our New Generational Contract is constantly re-negotiated – between and within generations, between and within cultures. While its principles stay fundamentally the same, the way we understand and apply them changes depending on time, contexts, and needs. In this sense, the Contract is dynamic and open.

“We should accomodate for different ages to continuously learn from each other by designing spaces that enable engagement naturally in daily life.” Venus Dulani, Hong Kong (NGC Workshop, February 2023)

We are grateful for the many participants of workshops, surveys and interviews whose views and ideas have informed this piece. Above all, we want to thank Mamphela Ramphele, Carlos Alvarez Pereira, Anne Snick, John Gilmour, Nolita Mvunelo, Heiko Specking, Raad Sharar, Claudia Brühwiler, Oleksandra Tarkhanova, Christoph Frei, Patrik Aspers, Felix Rüdiger, Maximilian Pefestorff and Leander Vogler for the joint synthesis of global perspectives.

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