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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Exiting the COVID-19 Crisis Will Require More, Not Less, Integration

COVID-19 is accelerating a backlash against globalisation already underway well before the outbreak. However, to exit this crisis, we need even closer integration and cooperation, argues Loh Boon Chye – CEO of Singapore Exchange – in an exclusive Topic Brief for the St. Gallen Symposium.

Global markets had begun the new year with cautious optimism that world economic growth could be sustained, following progress in January on a trade deal between the U.S. and China, the two economic powerhouses of our time. By March, as concern of a sharp downturn resulting from COVID-19 led to one of the worst quarters for equities in over a decade, many of us are instead contemplating quite a different worldview.

The coronavirus pandemic is the most significant crisis we are facing in a generation. Within weeks of the first cases of transmission, governments have been forced to take some unprecedented peacetime steps to stop its spread: entire cities, then countries, have been locked down, economic activity has virtually ground to a halt and the movement of people severely restricted. With a vaccine still some time away, the human toll has been devastating, the economic cost unknown. Many nations have closed themselves off from the outside world and looked inwards, both physically and metaphorically, for solutions to stem the pandemic.

Yet this retreat was arguably set in motion following the 2008 financial crisis, as an uneven economic recovery led to a backlash against globalisation. The COVID-19 outbreak is now accelerating this retreat, and indeed, some economists predict that the pandemic will hasten the end of the era of open borders and free markets. It seems, precisely because the world is so connected, that the disease was able to spread with such ferocity and impact. Across Western democracies in particular, taking back control has become a compelling call to action.

More Integration

In the fog of a crisis, it can be hard to resist the conclusion that globalisation has run its course. With lives and livelihoods upended, governments have instinctively turned inwards to protect their own – essentially seeking local solutions to a global problem.

However, to exit this crisis, we need even closer integration and cooperation. Global markets must stay open and accessible to facilitate a solution, to enable continued movement of basic necessities, critical medical supplies and technology, as well as increased capital flows. Financial markets can play a role here. They help to allocate capital efficiently, delivering price formation and transparency necessary to keep businesses going. This is part of safeguarding our economic resilience.

Financial markets also facilitate risk management. With COVID-19, news and information move rapidly and investors must be given the opportunity to respond and express their views in real time. Already in global equities, some markets have adopted measures to shield investors from losses amid the uncertainty, such as suspending trading or introducing a ban on short selling, to varying degrees of success. Intervention is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

To be sure, the world’s economies are of different sizes and at different stages of development. Bigger, more developed nations may do better being insular than those in emerging economies. But in order to secure a more sustainable future for all, doors must be opened for ideas to be sourced globally and for capital supporting those ideas to flow.

Mutual Trust

That is why taking an inward-looking approach comes with significant hazard. The coronavirus does not respect national boundaries. Sealing borders may help to stem the spread of a disease from country to country, but will not bring us closer to the path of real recovery. Only when all countries have tamed the pandemic will each country truly recover.

“We are all in this together” holds true when we recognise that the months and years ahead will be difficult for many. China, the first country to emerge from lockdown, has reported a 6.8% decline in its first-quarter GDP, its first economic contraction since 1976. We should not expect the situation to return to normal quickly – or whatever “normal” may mean in the post COVID-19 world.

Globalisation has been a source of stability for decades, the biggest driver of world economic growth since the 1990s, having lifted over a billion people out of extreme poverty. At its core, it has promoted a rules-based system that offers certainty and security, helping us to take on international challenges such as climate change – and health crises.

Things will change no doubt. COVID-19 has revealed weaknesses in the way the global economy has been organised, most glaringly in the international supply chains synonymous with economic integration. To this end, globalisation is imperfect and we should be under no illusion that because it has worked in the past, it will continue to do so in the future. Yet we must move forwards, not backwards, and seek to adapt rather than undo. That is the only way we can grow. And when the day comes when we succeed in overcoming COVID-19, we may well discover that the world has emerged more connected and interdependent than ever.

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