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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Reshaping Higher Education to Address Grand Societal Challenges

As we confront the grand societal challenges of our time, universities and other higher education institutions can contribute to driving meaningful solutions. The Future ofHigher Education Roundtable at the 52nd St. Gallen Symposium explored new ways of teaching, learning, and researching to help accelerate change.

With its theme of “A New Generational Contract”, the 52nd St. Gallen Symposium in May 2023 explored ways to advance long-term, future transformations while dealing with multiple, overlapping crises in the present. In this context, a cross-generational Roundtable on the Future Purpose of Higher Education brought together educators, university presidents, students, and edtech entrepreneurs. From embracing interdisciplinary education to rethinking research and the role of technology, they explored essential steps universities can take to continuously create value in light of evolving challenges.

Discussions focused specifically around three themes: university’s role in addressing grand societal challenges, preparing students for a technology-driven future, and navigating the risks and opportunities of private sector collaboration.

Addressing Grand Societal Challenges

Involving diverse stakeholders – and students in particular: To address the complexity of societal challenges, it is necessary, according to the Roundtable participants, to involve diverse stakeholders with varied backgrounds and expertise in shaping curricula, research questions, and teaching methods.This especially means to involve students as members of the next generation far more in questions of universities’ institutional development. “Very often I find myself speaking at conferences and the youngest person in the room is 35 or 40,” one participant pointed out. The Roundtable participants agreed that universities could very well use the knowledge, passion, and capacity of their students to better make sense of the role of research and teaching in addressing societies’ grand challenges.

Enabling interdisciplinary education: To enable students to effectively engage in solving today’s interconnected challenges, the significance of interdisciplinary education was emphasised again and again. As many of such challenges – such as the climate crisis, epidemics, and inequalities – do not fit neatly into the confines of a single academic discipline, universities should empower learners to think critically and approach issues holistically. This would also mean that courses are designed more from a learner’s perspective, and less based on faculty interests and divisions. In addition, learning would centre around real-world cases and enable students to turn knowledge into innovation and entrepreneurship.

Preparing Students for a Technology-Driven Future

Critically incorporating – and not prohibiting – new technologies in teaching: New technologies such as ChatGPT fundamentally question established ways of learning and testing skills in universities, as well as the education field more broadly. As one participant noted, “if used incorrectly, [ChatGPT] can undermine learning and give students a means not to learn at all”. But instead of prohibiting students’ usage of new technologies such as ChatGPT, curricula should enable students to combine their own creativity with the capabilities provided by technology, but also incorporate critical reflections about what this technology means for societies more broadly and where its limitations are. Besides, participants called for a reflection on what is inherently human that technology cannot provide and consequently focus university’s teaching more on such creative, inter-personal skills.

Enhancing peer-to-peer learning: One method that can help cultivate such skills is collaborative, peer-to-peer learning at university, fostering joint projects and discussions among students. This, it was argued by a renowned educator, “needs teachers that are ready to give up their front-row teaching styles”. Yet, as one Roundtable participant noted, “you are not able to introduce peer-to-peer learning top-down, but you can create a setting where teachers can try it out.” What this ultimately necessitates is the availability of continuous, life-long learning opportunities for university educators themselves to concurrently update their teaching methods.

Risks and Opportunities of Collaborations with the Private Sector

Navigating independence and collaboration: Universities serve as spaces for free research and as educators of critical thinkers. Therefore, maintaining universities’ independence in research and teaching was considered paramount to remain a trusted authority, and the cornerstone upon which any collaboration with the private sector should rest. At the same time, the benefits of diverse collaborative models were seen as equally clear, including additional funding opportunities, hands-on learning experiences for students, and insights from practice that can inform better, more relevant research questions and learning methodologies. Navigating this balance between independence and mutual was hence considered key, through models which create value for universities, students, and companies alike, while safeguarding the autonomy of research and teaching.

Educating critical and accountable future employees: Besides, participants emphasised that the private sector directly benefits from university’s independence in yet another way: through the critically thinking, accountable, and self-reflected students such environments help grow. As companies are increasingly challenged to define and live up to their broader societal and ecological purpose and responsibility, students with such qualities were seen as “the best possible employees” for businesses seeking to thrive in this new environment. Helping cultivate the next generation of corporate decision-makers in this way was thus seen as an additional pathway through which universities may help address society’s grand challenges.

From left to right: Last row: David Wagner, Prof. Xue Lan, Prof. Bernhard Ehrenzeller, Uliana
Polyakova, Patrick Awuah, Philippe Narval, Salman Amin Khan, Esther Wojcicki, Prof. Jean-François
Manzoni; Standing: Wyatt Bruton, Mingqi Xie; Second row: Selina Lorenz, Benedict Kurz, Devi Sahny,
Prof. Naomi Häfner, Prof. Manuel Ammann, Sara Filipcic; First row: Martin Waldhäusl, Prof. Miriam
Meckel, Anna Laura Schmidt, Prof. Angela Owusu-Ansah

From left to right: Last row: David Wagner, Prof. Xue Lan, Prof. Bernhard Ehrenzeller, Uliana Polyakova, Patrick Awuah, Philippe Narval, Salman Amin Khan, Esther Wojcicki, Prof. Jean-François Manzoni; Standing: Wyatt Bruton, Mingqi Xie; Second row: Selina Lorenz, Benedict Kurz, Devi Sahny, Prof. Naomi Häfner, Prof. Manuel Ammann, Sara Filipcic; First row: Martin Waldhäusl, Prof. Miriam Meckel, Anna Laura Schmidt, Prof. Angela Owusu-Ansah

We are grateful for all participants of the Roundtable for sharing their expertise
and insights. For the preparation, execution, and post-processing of this Roundtable, we
would like to thank Prof. Naomi Häfner, David Wagner, Selina Lorenz, Uliana Polyakova,
Prof. Bernhard Ehrenzeller, Philippe Narval, Prof. Jean-François Manzoni, and Greta

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