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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Robo-reporters: The end of the story for journalism?

Ever heard of Jia Jia? No, it’s not a Chinese woman, but a humanoid robot journalist created by developers from the University of Science and Technology in China’s Anhui province in April. She made a splash when she “reported” for the country’s news agency Xinhua and conducted a live interview with an editor of WIRED Magazine.

While she can hold simple conversations and make specific facial expressions, she can only respond to basic questions and her movements are restricted. Jia Jia still has a long way to go. But regardless, her appearance on the global media landscape got the industry thinking. Is this journalism’s final chapter?

In robot journalism – also called automated journalism or algorithmic journalism – news articles are generated by computer programs and Artificial Intelligence (AI) software, rather than human reporters. Voice, tone, and style can be customized depending on the desired output. AI companies such as Automated Insights, Narrative Science or Yseop are already developing and delivering such algorithms, chatbots, and automated reporting systems to newsrooms around the globe. Hold your breath: these robots are able to produce a story in just a matter of a second.

Workers worldwide are fearing for their jobs as the rise of the machine is well underway, and journalists are surely no exception.

Xinhua wasn’t the only media outlet to experiment with humanoid robot journalists. Global news organizations such as Thomson Reuters or the Associated Press (AP) are already using machine learning algorithms to write their stories. The AP for example began publishing articles for earnings reports last year, using a software from Automated Insights. Google, on its side, has provided the British news agency Press Association with a $1 million grant to develop a computer program able to gather and write nearly 30,000 stories a month – a volume impossible to match manually.

Will robots ultimately steal a journalist’s job? My plain answer is no. He or she will share our job.

There are several benefits using a machine. For example, robots can act as an “assistant”, such as writing up press releases, data stories, or earnings results. They are however unable to conduct face-to-face interviews and ask follow-up questions, craft a colourful feature story and in-depth analysis, or shoot and edit a package for TV broadcast. They also do not have the ability to pick a news angle to begin with. Imagine the situation of a humanitarian crisis, for instance, where a correspondent interviews a Rohingya refugee from Myanmar. You can’t send a robot to talk to victims of genocide, but need to be on the ground and have an emotional connection.

By automating routine stories and tasks, journalists can free up time for more challenging jobs such as covering events and investigative reporting. It also paves the way for greater efficiency and cost-cutting measures for news organizations struggling to survive. Robot journalism is cheaper because large quantities of content can be produced at quicker speeds. Labor costs are lower thanks to less expenses on wages, holidays and paid leaves, and employment insurance. So, this type of disruption is not necessarily a bad thing.

However, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. Apart from fears about even more job cuts in the media industry, there are obvious concerns about the credibility and quality of automated journalism and the use of algorithms. AI cannot replace human skills such as creativity, humour, or critical thinking in the newsroom, which are all crucial aspects for the media professional.

The calculator tool “Will Robots Take My Job?” developed by Oxford University and Deloitte reveals that reporters and correspondents stand an 11 percent risk of being replaced by a robot within the next two decades. This compares to 94 percent among couriers and messengers, and 25 percent among sales representatives for instance.

The origins of journalism date back to ancient times, when scribes wrote down and recorded events that happened around them. In 1556, the government of Venice first published the monthly “Notizie Scritte” (“Written Notes”), which cost one gazetta or one Venetian coin at that time. Today’s multi-billion dollar media industry may be in crisis, but it will never die. More than ever before, it is calling for a wider context, exclusive sources, and profound analysis. Above all, a smart human brain.

As with U.S. President Donald Trump’s attacks against “fake news”, the good thing is that robo-reporters are sparking a fresh debate about the future of our profession, and this is a good thing. Skilled journalists will always have a job.

You may agree: A robot wouldn’t win a Pulitzer Prize.

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