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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Reigning in Big Tech With New Platform Laws

In December 2020, the European Commission unveiled proposals aimed at overhauling the digital market. To address concerns about the dominance of big tech companies, the Digital Markets Act lays out new obligations for the gatekeepers of the digital world.

Online platforms have transformed the way consumers look for information, transactions and social interaction. In doing so, they have become central facilitators in digital markets. Because of network effects, online platforms see their value increase with the number of users. As a result, digital markets tend to become concentrated. The business model that has emerged on these two-sided markets offers consumers services and content for free, while revenue is generated by charging fees to business customers and showing advertisements to consumers. To increase advertisement revenues, ad-supported platforms design their digital services to hold consumers’ attention and encourage them to disclose personal data.

Search engines, social networks, and e-commerce platforms increasingly act as gatekeepers, controlling access to key digital services for both consumers and businesses. Big tech platforms determine not only which users are allowed to participate in the ecosystem or the way transactions are to be carried out via the platform, but also which offers or content corresponding users should receive.

The Competition Law Toolbox: Too Little, Too Late

As the power of big tech companies has grown, so too has the concern over how online platforms choose to wield their gatekeeping powers. The tremendous success of GAFAM – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft – has attracted the scrutiny of the European Commission and national competition agencies. Over the past years, competition watchdogs have examined GAFAM’s acquisitions and contractual agreements, and vigorously enforced provisions on abuse of dominance against these digital giants. The GAFAM platforms have been accused of abusing their dominance by leveraging their market power into neighbouring markets or by violating consumers’ privacy.

Despite the efforts of competition authorities, competition law interventions are increasingly perceived as being “too little, too late” in fast-moving digital markets. Competition authorities have struggled to apply competition law concepts, such as market definition and abusive conduct, to the peculiarities of platform markets. In markets where services are free and platforms take up a dual role as both gatekeeper and competitor, competition agencies have had to develop suitable theories of harm to consumers. This has resulted in tedious procedures that were in stark contrast to the dynamics of digital markets. The Commission’s Google Shopping decision, for instance, was rendered seven years after the investigation was opened. More than three years later, Google’s appeal is still pending before the European Courts. In the meantime, Google Shopping could continue to grow, illustrating that lengthy proceedings are problematic in markets that are prone to “tipping”. Once incumbents gain dominance, it can be difficult for newcomers to lure consumers away. As part of the remedies in the Google Shopping case – next to a record fine of €2.42bn – Google agreed to allow competitors to bid for advertising space at the top of a search page to channel traffic to their sites. However, in 2018 rivals complained that Google’s compliance mechanism is ineffective, which was confirmed by a 2020 study.

The Digital Markets Act: Changing the Rules of the Game

The new platform law proposed by the European Commission aims to curb these drawbacks of competition law by proposing a new tool: ex ante regulation for the largest platforms which are regarded as having “gatekeeper” status. Gatekeepers are companies that play a particularly important role in the market because of their size and importance as a gateway for businesses to reach their customers.

The Digital Markets Act aims to prevent gatekeepers from imposing unfair conditions on businesses and consumers and to ensure the openness of important digital services. Some new obligations aim to help promote new entry, by allowing data portability and interoperability and encouraging user choice. If adopted, under the Digital Markets Act gatekeepers will no longer be allowed to prevent users from removing pre-installed software or apps. Other obligations govern the relationships between platforms and their business users. Platforms are to be prohibited from using data obtained from their business customers to compete with these business customers (which is also the subject of an ongoing Commission antitrust investigation into Amazon). Finally, the new obligations aim to enhance transparency between platforms and advertisers.

Penalties for non-compliance will be up to 10% of worldwide annual turnover and may include behavioural remedies, mirroring the sanctions under competition law. Structural remedies, including breaking up companies, will be an option if companies systematically fail to comply with the rules.

Overall, the Digital Markets Act legislates some of the rules that the Commission has up until now tried to achieve via competition investigations against platforms. By setting out clear rules, the hope is that the regulation will be able to respond more quickly and effectively to competition problems in digital markets. While the new obligations will certainly be costly for platforms, they promise to reinforce competition and trust in the platform business environment.

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