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
Watch Here

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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Remaking Global Cooperation: There’s No App For That

The data revolution can help bring about radically new forms of international cooperation – but instead of challenging the status quo, prevalent data technologies rather exacerbate existing power structures. We need a far bolder approach.

Since the 1970s, our economic system and some aspects of our society have become increasingly interconnected due to two main forces: Financialisation and increasing levels of digitalisation. Incredible changes, both positive and negative, have been wrought upon our political, economic, environmental, and social landscapes by these processes. Our methods and modes of co-operation, however, have lagged these changes in part leading to fragile economic structures, geo-political tensions, and run-away climate change.

Despite it being clear that we need new methods of co-operation for several decades, humanity has left it almost to the point that it is too late for us to establish them. Rather than blindly believe that more data and digitalisation is going to save us, therefore, it is time for us to think deeply about the changes so far and how we can forge the new types of cooperation that we desperately need. This requires an honest assessment of what is needed and what our technologies can help us achieve.

Incremental Change is Guaranteed, But Drastic Re-Organisation Required

It may be an unpopular view, but I believe that our biggest threat to cooperation is that we are all expected to be the same, produce the same, think the same and deliver the same thing that was delivered in the last century. There are a lot of great speeches about change, but frankly most of our cooperation models in today’s world – at national, regional, and international levels of NGOs, Corporations and even Civil Society – are predicated on the same notions of international cooperation developed in the 1950s. Change is slow because participants are forced to agree with the status quo long enough to achieve the right ‘level’ to make extremely basic adaptations. Incremental change is guaranteed when drastic re-organisation is required. As anyone who has ever tried knows – challenging the status-quo may sound glamorous but it is mostly soul-destroying; yet the world desperately needs lots more iconoclasts at every level of society.

As a simple example, our economic system, while it has had a few tweaks here and there, is not that dissimilar to the one of the early post war era. Yes, we have larger, globalised supply chains. Yes, people now move around in a way that they could not prior to the advent of relatively cheap air travel. But the structure of the economic system – the split between people who own land and capital and those that work for those owners has not really evolved all that much. Indeed, we are relying on theories of economic organisation from economists from around that era who are long dead. Are we so sure that Friedman, Coase, Robinson, or any of the others would come up with the same theories if they came face to face with our digital and data-driven world – theories that our modern economists now cling to like life rafts despite all evidence to the contrary?

We Need to Be Far Bolder in Using Data to Change the Status Quo

Despite the transformative promise of data technologies, meanwhile, they too have done less to challenge power structures than we admit – we must admit that they have in many instances exacerbated power discrepancies and created new social problems. Even much-vaunted cryptocurrencies have challenged far fewer existing power structures and modes of cooperation than they boast of – faced with a completely new mode of technology and the opportunity to create a completely new view of what money is, and how it can be used in our society, cryptocurrencies have so far mainly recreated centralised financial instruments in a decentralised fashion.

There is hope, however, but it requires us to be far bolder about what can be achieved, and perhaps more importantly what really needs to be achieved with data and digital technologies. We need to challenge ourselves more and push further. Because we have no option. Our current coordination methods were designed to help humanity work together after two massive wars – we now need ones that can ensure humanity’s survival.

It’s Time For a New Renaissance

In short, we need a new renaissance – we need an era in time where we are brave enough to assess and overthrow the ideas that have gone before us and sweep in a new form of modernity based on science and deep understanding of the humanities. A key aspect of the renaissance period was interdisciplinarity – polymaths spanned the boundaries of science, maths and humanities.  In our new version, however, we need to also span environmental sciences in a much deeper and broader way.

Instead of walking away from education and scholarship, we need more of it forging a path forward and illuminating parts of the way towards socially, environmentally and economically sustainable societies.  Interdisciplinarity at its very core requires cooperation around data and communication of knowledge. Ideally, this would push our political classes far beyond the current rhetoric and into depth of understanding about how to change our world.

As we realise we need to travel less, pollute less, consume differently and ensure a transition to a just and sustainable world, we will need to move towards loosely-coupled coordination methods, ones where high-level agreements can be complemented with regional and local implementations. For example, we at DCentral have placed this as the core of our research agenda – using data and decentralised technologies for the creation of sustainability and social good. Through taking an interdisciplinary approach – combining Economics, Cybersecurity, Information Systems and Design disciplines, we are working to redefine our expectations of decentralised technology and our understanding of the structures of democratic systems themselves in the era of digitalisation.

There is no reason that the digital economy of the 21st Century needs to be organised the same way as the one of the 20th Century. Data now forms the basis of large parts of our economy – but we have done little so far to truly grasp that, engage with it or build out new methods of cooperation. Data both requires new methods of co-ordination to genuinely ensure data is put to work for all, and places in our hands the very tools of the new modes of coordination that we need. We cannot, however, rely on our old models – we need to think through at depth our deepest assumptions of how we should organise human activity, how we should engage with our physical world and those species that share this space with us. We cannot find these new models in our established modes of cooperation – we have no choice but to build new ones.  Rather than fear these changes, we need to accept them for what they are – features of a dying social order – and start to build new connections and new structures of collaboration that work for our entire planet.

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