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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Programme dedicated to the Leaders of Tomorrow

This years Leaders of Tomorrow (LoT) have gathered from all over the world, to challenge the purpose of capital. For them, the St. Gallen Symposium started on Wednesday with a full day dedicated to their ideas. Along with the two Main Partners for this day – ABB and Accenture – the LoTs spent the day brainstorming, debating and discussing.

It began with a presentation by Prasad Swaminathan, Group Senior Vice President of ABB and Thomas Meyer, Managing Director Accenture Switzerland, who captivated the audience by presenting the first four challenges:

Challenge 1: The new world order – Impact on Competencies

Challenge 2: The new world order – Impact on Shareholders

Challenge 3: Intellectual Property in Professional Services

Challenge 4: Human Capital in digital age

After one hour of preparation, the LoT were ready to charmingly present their insightful and intriguing ideas. Freedom to creativity, innovation and growth as well as reducing rigid hierarchies were the inputs for the first challenge. When it comes to measuring impact, non-financial tools such as the Co2 Emission or Employment increase shall be part of the success. Inputs to the third challenge, were the importance of brand and purpose as well as trust. Lastly, Mentorship programs and measures to sustain psychological health were mentioned to protect the human capital in the digital age.

After the first session, Prof. Colin Mayer, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford took the stage and challenged Friedman’s doctrine. Is the existence of businesses only reduced to making profit and in creating, besides existing, further problems to be “solved”? Does this have something to do with people being hesitant to trust business leaders? If so, where lies the fundamental problem? The answer is, lack of purpose. On one hand the corporate purpose should be in line with the purpose of the shareholders, on the other hand, companies are advised to move from fake profits towards fair profits. Accounting standards should not only include traditional assets, but also take human capital into account. And who is responsible to solve the problem – government or private sector? Successfully aligning both interests will prevent exploitative behaviour towards each other. Therefore, both together shall join forces to solve the problem.

After discussing the challenges from Prof. Colin Mayer and enjoying the provided lunch, the Leaders of Tomorrow were invited to the Würth Haus in Rorschach. Starting off, chosen Leaders of Tomorrow presented what their groups had discussed previously. To Prof. Mayers first Challenge “From shareholder primacy to purpose primacy” the LoT said that the governments should play a role in adding to accountability as they bring the resources. They also said that the purpose must come bottom up. They saw the social impact as even more relevant as it has focus, intention and outcome, and they suggested that governments should shift from a punishing to a deserving form where firms that are strongly beneficial would receive tax deductions.

To the second challenge “Mission and governance of purpose-driven companies” both presenters agreed that there are many great examples of purpose driven companies but also many that are not up to par. They see the problem, that companies could die since the world around us is constant change and purpose might not ensure a sustainability of a company. Also, they question what purpose could be measured in.

The third challenge was “The true nature of profits and business models”. The presenters believe that the public should be made aware of companies that value capital over everything else such as the state of the people working or even the environment as this could lead to a resistance of these companies. Further they suggested that the government should install penalties to said corporations.

The fourth and final challenge was “Addressing societal issues beyond regulations”. Here it was presented that it is unfortunate that capitalism is beginning to be brought in such a bad light. And they came up with three main ideas. First, one should redefine social contract. Social purpose cannot be forced by law or be driven by regulations, but it can be enforced by people. Leaders of today shall make the change. Secondly, accountability must be improved throughout and lastly, one should empower stakeholder discussions. We must relearn that disagreements between people are a necessity of life and behind most disagreements there is a chance of learning and improving.

After the presentation of ideas by the Leaders of Tomorrow there was a panel discussion led by former Leader of Tomorrow Jason George (J.M. George, Inc.). The guests were Maria Teresa Zappia (Chief Investment Officer of BlueOrchard), Thomas Meyer (Managing Director, Accenture Switzerland), Timo Ihamuotila (Chief Financial Officer, ABB) and Professor Colin Mayer (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford). The panel discussed purpose in companies, how it is not always easy in an everchanging world. They positively commented on the great ideas the Leaders of Tomorrow have come up with. They stated that capitalism enables innovation but can also destroy traditions. As an example, they named Tesla as not being from the traditional car industry but with its discovery changing traditions. They said that there is a global movement of enhancement going on and many companies are aware of it and moving in the right direction. Yet, it is a movement which will not happen overnight as companies have responsibilities for various families. At the end of the panel the Leaders of Tomorrow were able to ask the various questions followed by an aperitif and later a dinner at the Würth Haus which was also where further discussions about this enlightening day were able to be made.

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