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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Playing for a living

Good news, nine-to-fivers! Your working lives could soon get an exciting makeover due to the innovative rise of occupational gamification. By placing a focus on  challenge and achievement, the gamification of work is a strategy designed to motivate employees to perform better on the job.

So how does it work? Let’s take the example of Bluewolf, a global business consulting firm based in New York. Beginning in 2012, Bluewolf created a programme called #GoingSocial in order to incentivise employees and enhance their commitment to building the company.

Now called PRIME, the programme makes heavy use of gamification techniques: Bluewolf’s employees get points for internal and external networking, for publishing a post on Bluewolf’s blog, and for sharing content on LinkedIn and Twitter. These points and rewards – which range from T-shirts to lunch with the CEO – are then presented on an individual employee’s “Pack Profile,” which can be accessed on the programme.
All of this sounds like a blast, right? For employers, it’s certainly got advantages. According to Alain Dehaze, CEO of the Adecco Group, the gamification of work has given recruiters a new way to educate and train workers. “Gamification is a tool to leverage the impact of education and training,” says Dehaze. “You learn faster through a game.”

Adecco is also incorporating gamification concepts into its recruiting efforts. It recently introduced a “CEO for one month” programme. Essentially a high-powered management trainee selection process and internship programme, the global challenge selects 47 finalists from a pool of over 200,000 applicants from around the world. The final 47 work alongside the company’s country CEOs; the final ten candidates compete at a management “boot camp” for a spot shadowing Dehaze himself as global CEO for a month. (The finalist also earns a USD $10,000 “salary.”)

The unconventional recruiting approach – which involves team-building exercises for candidates along with elimination rounds – is a way to set the Adecco Group’s  recruitment process apart using gamification techniques. It’s an appropriate approach for an HR firm that wants to stand out.

A catalyst for learning

Dehaze’s arguments ring true to Jamaican physicist Dominic Mills-Howell, a postdoctoral student at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy and Leader of Tomorrow whose essay for the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award was entitled “Artificial Intelligence, Gamification, Culture and the Amistics of Human  Development”. “The main idea behind the gamification of work is to accelerate the learning process”, says Mills-Howell.
Gamification, Mills-Howell says, can be very beneficial to the employee. For example, a video-game style leader board is a way to publicly recognise an employee’s achievements. This therefore motivates people to always perform their best.

Re-defining work in a more creative sense

Dominic Geissler, M.A Candidate in Business Innovation and Design Thinking at the University of St. Gallen, is also optimistic about the gamification of work. This is because the phenomenon may allow us to re-define what work means.

“Nowadays, work means income-generating activities. In the future, work will be about pursuing your leisure activities. On the side, you’ll get additional basic income,” says Geissler. Gamification of work promises a double advantage in the sense that it might enable individuals to really have fun with their jobs – and also get paid for enjoying themselves.

On the other hand, gamifying a workplace is not a straightforward process. “To have long-term success, you have to really think about how specifically you use game mechanics in order to achieve goals,” says Geissler. Game-design experts must create gamification techniques that are actually going to motivate the employee.

Geissler argues, for example, that just relying on a leader board is a problem: After an employee gets to the top, they may not be interested in gamification anymore. In contrast, an employee who is struggling to compete with their peers on the leader board may feel “disengaged” with the concept of gamification. Companies need to ensure that they are always coming up with something new and creative.

“You are kind of giving people a drug”

To Stefan Kießling, M.A. candidate in Philosophy and Business Administration at Copenhagen Business School, gamifying a workplace is comparable to giving employees a  kind of drug. In other words, it sometimes verges on the immoral: The most powerful gamification techniques have the dangerous capacity to really get into an individual’s mind. “Gamification can cause employees to become very competitive with one another and this can therefore lead to individuals feeling distressed,” says Kießling.

Because of these factors, Kießling agrees with Geissler and argues that one must be very careful when designing the elements of a gamification platform.

So is gamification a blessing or a curse? For Bluewolf, the #GoingSocial programme was definitely a blessing: Ten months after its initial launch, its blog traffic tripled, and visits to its website from social media platforms rose 68 percent. The approach was so successful Bluewolf expanded and continued it. The programme is now known as  PRIME; Bluewolf executives claim it’s boosted staff retention, project volume and revenues.

And at Adecco? Applications for their innovative recruiting programme are up, and it has become an annual event. The future of work, it seems, may be fun.

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