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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Tech is too white. And that’s a problem

Google News’ algorithms associated “he” with “doctor” and “she” with “nurse.” Microsoft’s AI chatbot Tay pledged allegiance to Hitler within hours of being online. COMPAS, a risk-assessment programme, predicted black defendants were more likely to commit further crimes than they actually were.

Artificial intelligence software is typically coded by white, young and privileged men – with consequences in terms of how they learn and function. But the bias carried by these algorithms may only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tech’s impact on society. “Artificial intelligence can do good,” says Ayesha Khanna, CEO of ADDO AI. “It can reduce disease, it can democratise access to infrastructure for the poor, but tech is a double-edged sword. And unless we manage it carefully, it could also do harm.”

AI algorithms have repeatedly been racist, sexist and, well, biased. The problem is, the industry itself does not even know what lies under the surface. “In the world of AI, it is common knowledge that there are potential issues and pitfalls with the technology,” says Heather Evans, advisor in advanced technologies for the Ministry of Economic  Development and Growth of Ontario, Canada. “But there is not yet a good understanding of what these broad issues are.”

However, awareness is growing, and there are solutions out there regarding biased algorithms. “It is never too late! These codes are written by human beings. A lot of these biases come from poor data. You have to add more data, diversify the data, and retrain the model,” says Khanna.

Khanna can also imagine AI looking after itself eventually. “AI could be programmed to inspect other algorithms as they evolve and get fed more data.”

Heather Evans, Photographer: Lukas Rapp, Tobias Schreiner
A diverse team: the win-win situation

A diverse company culture not only helps create products that are fit for a broader audience, but also products that last longer. “If the objective of a team is to create a product which delivers a service, then your customers are probably a diverse group of people,” Evans says. “You need to understand them, and it is very hard to understand the perspective of someone whose life experience is so different than your own.”

So why does the tech industry have such a hard time creating truly diverse workplaces? Some insiders blame the pipeline. “In engineering, there are definitely fewer female candidates with minority backgrounds who have a wide range and depth of experience,” explains Pavan Kumar, co-founder & CTO of Cocoon Cam, which develops smart monitors to screen babies while they are sleeping. Kumar knows from first-hand experience how hard it is to create diversity in a start-up; 90 percent of the applications he gets are from men. What, then, is the best way to hire people from different backgrounds, ages, genders, and perspectives?

According to Zabeen Hirji, advisor on the future of work at Deloitte, the answer lies in changing the human resources department. “When you are going to hire from  universities, you should take care to attract a diverse group of students,” she says. “And that means that the people you send on campus recruiting visits should actually be diverse.”

Khanna, meanwhile, argues that the solution lies in broadening the company’s reach. “I look increasingly at hiring digital talents, people who work remotely,” she says. “The moment I expanded my horizons, both in terms of geographical boundaries and whether I was hiring someone full time, part time, or as a consultant, my pool of talents got much bigger, and there was a higher chance that I found diverse talents.”

Just hiring a diverse team is not enough: Companies must also include everyone in the debate. “As a leader, you want to empower your team so that they can have an opinion, so that they are heard,” says Evans. “Because it is one thing for someone to have a comment, and it is another thing to be taken seriously.”

Everyone, in other words, is responsible for creating representative AI. “We have to demand transparency and accountability with our algorithms,” says Khanna. “We cannot be passive: We have to force and compel ourselves as human beings, but also the companies and the governments, to provide that sort of accountability.”

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