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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The International Relevance of Neutral States is Stronger Now Than Ever

Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, discussions about applying for membership in international organisations and military alliances have returned to societies and parliaments in the permanently neutral states of Europe. Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Malta, Switzerland, and Austria observe the violence happening on the EU’s eastern border  and reflect on their stance – whether staying neutral or perhaps rethinking their policies altogether might be the best choice not only for them, but for all their neighbours.

At the St. Gallen Symposium, Swiss President Ignazio Cassis and Austrian Minister for the EU and Constitution Karoline Edtstadler discussed the historical and current relevance of neutrality in their respective countries, as well as its specific role in times of war, Switzerland and Austria have been neutral since 1907 and 1955 respectively, a decision both initially took to protect themselves and their societies.

Importantly, and as Edtstadler highlighted during the session, their neutrality is “military”. This means that while the state will not assist or attack any party in a conflict, sides can be taken politically and economically. “Neutrality must be critical”, affirmed Cassis, “and it entails having a moral responsibility” to politically support or oppose parties involved in a conflict.

Photo: Fabiano Mancesti

Over time, international conflicts showed the need to have spaces where discussions could be held and conventions and agreements signed, and neutral states proved to be the perfect places for that. “International dialogue is one of the pillars of the Symposium”, Cassis said, “and it’s imperative to host it to overcome global challenges”. Edtstadler pointed out that “intergenerational participation is the solution” and the path to build the future, and neutrality is the ideal foundation for it.

When civilians are in the line of fire, however, standing back and not helping fight off the aggressor isn’t always a welcomed position in states with a different foreign policy tradition. Cassis defended the neutral stance in an interview with SYMPACT: “Not only is neutrality ethically justifiable, but it is also ethically necessary”, Cassis said, it is “an instrument for peace, serving the international community”. In the interview with SYMPACT, the President explained: “If no country takes on the role of neutrality, there is no bridge builder and that is fundamentally important so that the countries involved do sit down at the table at some point and find a solution. That has always been the case and will always be the case”.

In both the Austrian and the Swiss states, neutrality is part of the national identity, which is why every decision taken by the governments in favour or against a party in a conflict becomes a relevant topic in the public discussion. The latest controversy in both Switzerland and Austria is cooperation with the EU against Russia.

Switzerland’s implementation of the sanctions, despite not being a member, has caused some tension because it might affect the country’s economic and political independenced.  Cassis recognised that the sanctions adopted will have an “effect on neutrality and diplomacy”, but that at the same time taking the decision to collaborate is part of being critical and taking political sides in conflict when necessary.

Photo: Fabiano Mancesti

Since  Austria is a member of the EU, there isn’t too much room to manoeuvre. Furthermore, the organisation has already stated its intention of improving and expanding the EU Rapid Deployment Capacity, to which Austria has already pledged troops and participation. In a conflict, that could potentially irreparably damage and eliminate the neutrality that minster Edtstadler affirmed “is compatible with EU membership”. However, she stated that Austria will “abstain constructively in regard to lethal weapons”, which implied the will to not necessarily block military activity but use political power to avoid it or look for an alternative.

While globalisation is constantly increasing and cooperation and multilateralism become more important, polarisation in the international arena and in societies is also becoming a growing problem. “The world is simultaneously growing together and drifting apart”, Cassis lamented. In the face of these trends and challenges, neutral states will have to thread a fine line in their positioning in conflicts that allows them to continue functioning as stages for discussion and agreement.

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