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 [email protected]. 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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Today’s Central Banks Are Dangerously Behind the Curve

Public trust in stable money lies at the heart of robust economic development. As monetary stability is no longer the first priority for central banks, trust and economic prosperity are at risk.

Without trust in society’s institutions and in the rule of law, economic prosperity is impossible. All of us, as economic actors, must feel confident that our property and the rewards of our labour are protected by a legal framework that is fair, impartial and transparent. Without this guarantee, economic development will simply stagnate. 

But there is another requirement for a society’s robust economic development—a stable, equable means of exchange, namely, money. Only when we trust that we can fairly exchange our property or our labour for the goods and services of others, both today and tomorrow, will we strive to do our best and thus advance society’s standard of living across the board.

Trusted, Stable Money Creates a Virtuous Circle

Stable money is not only necessary for the exchanges we make in our daily lives today but also incentivises us to save for the future. Saving for retirement only makes sense if we can feel confident that the money we put aside will retain its real purchasing power in the future. Collectively, our savings provide the pool of funds that finances others’ investments. And these investments increase productivity. Stable money, as such, generates a virtuous circle that improves all our lives.

This is not theory. Economic history teaches us the value of stable money over and over again. From Aristotle’s observation that money is anything that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts — that is, that money is a convention or institution of a society — to today’s efforts by independent central banks to retain the purchasing power of their currencies, examples of the importance of stable money are legion, as are the lessons of what happens when people cannot trust their money. 

There have been many experiments with money over the centuries. The first largescale experiment with paper money was made in France by John Law after the death of Louis the 14th. Government debt, which was vast, was financed by the printing press, ultimately creating the first stock market bubble, which was followed by a mighty crash and runaway inflation. Later, in the nineteenth century, another approach to assure the stability of money was tried, linking it to precious metals. This also yielded dismal results, with periodic episodes of deflation suffocating economic production, wages and demand and contributing to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

One thing we have learned is that the responsibility for creating monetary stability should not be in the hands of politicians. Rather, this task should be overseen by independent institutions whose only concern is the stability of our money. For decades now we have enjoyed the benefits of such independent central banks. Trust in institutions like the Federal Reserve, the Bundesbank and the Swiss National Bank has allowed us to build a dynamic, global economic system. For over 40 years inflation has been steadily declining. And price stability has also been achieved. Economic development around the world has been thriving—until recently.

When Central Banks Ignore Their Mandate, Public Trust Erodes

Ironically, we observe, this monetary stability appears to have come with the heavy price of undermining the stability of the financial system itself. Low inflation and low interest rates have led to massive asset price increases. This has occasionally led to extremely high volatility on financial markets. Nowhere was this more evident than in the 2007-8 financial crisis. Low interest rates and easy monetary policies had led to enormous real estate bubbles in most industrialised countries. And when those property bubbles burst, they threatened to take down the entire global banking system. Stock prices quickly tumbled after the first tremors were felt and fears of a global depression were rampant.

The only institutions that could prevent utter economic collapse were the central banks, ignoring the fact that they themselves were at least partly responsible for creating the mess in the first place. Responding to the traumatised banking system, central banks recklessly lowered interest rates ever further and printed ever more money, flooding the shaken economy with cash to prevent a total economic meltdown. Their apparent success at meeting the crisis left central bankers brimming with self-confidence. In the months and years that followed, the world’s central bankers enjoyed near-universal admiration. After all, they saved us, didn’t they?

But only a very fine line separates self-confidence from hubris. Globally, the money supply simply exploded. Stable money was no longer a priority for central banks; a stable financial system was the paramount goal. Prudent forward-looking central banking was discarded, replaced with an attitude of “whatever it takes.” Why worry when you can walk on water? Unfortunately, this was still the attitude when the covid-19 pandemic struck. Superheroes to the rescue! And the remedy was the same: the money supply was again wildly inflated; this time not to finance the banking system, but to staunch the bleeding from enormous public deficits.

In short, central banks are fighting yesterday’s war with yesterday’s weapons and the outlook for today’s battle is not good. Any student of economic history knows how this will end: John Law 2.0.

Independent central banks were created to break the link between political expedience and monetary policy. When central bank ignore their mandate to provide society with stable money, our trust in these institutions will deteriorate. Once inflation raises its ugly head, as surely it will, our trust in our central banks and in their money will evaporate. 

We urgently need to rethink the institutions tasked with assuring the stability of our money. Otherwise, the next economic crisis will shatter our highly evolved economies and with it our prosperity. 

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