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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Trust Matters: Executive Summary

The inspiring debates and calls for action in the months leading up to and during the 50th St. Gallen Symposium from 5-7 May 2021 have shown: Cross-generational dialogue is more needed and impactful than ever.

In 1969, the St. Gallen Symposium was initiated by a group of students at the University of St.Gallen at a time of upheaval. Racial segregation in the US, the Vietnam War, and struggles to come to terms with the German past fuelled conflicts among generations. Today, in light of the climate crisis, rising inequality, and rapid technological change, younger generations are again raising their voices as they reflect on the ways their futures are being compromised by current developments.

A Seismograph of Emerging Challenges

The 50th St. Gallen Symposium’s theme “Trust Matters” captured the nature and urgency of such challenges, but also the spirit that has guided the symposium throughout the years: dialogue and cross-generational action instead of mere confrontation. In recent years, trust in businesses, governments, and emerging technologies has eroded, especially among younger generations. The International Students’ Committee (ISC) of the St. Gallen Symposium asked its global community “How can trust be strengthened at a moment in time when it matters most?” More than 2,000 leaders of today and tomorrow from 87 countries, among them 154 speakers from business, policy, science, and civil society, responded to the call, and accepted the invitation to talk, listen, understand, and act.

In more than 60 sessions, the symposium acted as a seismograph charting the next generation’s perspectives and priorities and fostered mutual understanding. Members of the ISC challenged Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to better take into account the interests of young citizens when addressing the coronavirus pandemic. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasised the technology sector’s societal responsibility in light of rapidly accelerating digitalisation when he said that “a company should succeed only when it helps the world to tackle its most pressing challenges”. Discussing a sustainable transformation of the economy with German climate activist Luisa Neubauer, Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, urged the global audience to “let our actions speak when it comes to regaining trust of younger generations”.

Identifying Key Drivers of Trust

“Trust requires trustworthiness”, Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach, Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs International and Conference Co-Chairman of the St. Gallen Symposium, noted at the outset of the 50th anniversary symposium. Across the realms of business, politics, media, science, and technology, participants and speakers identified key drivers of trust, including transparency, integrity, accountability, and inclusiveness. They agreed that in times of increasing polarisation, trust can also emerge from dialogue, particularly “dialogue between opponents”, as Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, explained when making the case for humanitarian diplomacy. A first step can be to “train your interest in the lives of people with different opinions”, according to Maria Exner, Editor-in-Chief of ZEIT Magazin, while Prof. Wolfgang Schürer, the St. Gallen Symposium’s founder, noted that “one of the biggest qualities of a leader is to invite different, or even opposing views”.

A Symposium Reinvented

To enable a global forum where the most important stakeholders could drive dialogue and action in times of a pandemic, the St. Gallen Symposium reinvented itself and developed a hybrid, global model for the symposium of the future. From September 2020 onwards, year-round publications and initiatives such as the Global Leadership Challenge developed ideas and projects to address global challenges. For the main symposium this May, the virtual conference platform PLATO recreated the university campus with dedicated spaces for high-level debates and more intimate exchanges. Alongside Switzerland, the first rendition of the St. Gallen Symposium Singapore Hub attracted 100 physical participants over two days, including ministers, chief executives and Singaporean Leaders of Tomorrow Alumni. Through physical and digital gatherings in 10 additional locations, such as Johannesburg, São Paulo, and New York, the symposium’s community engaged in cross-generational dialogue around the world.

Several Executive Roundtables, workshop-style Interactive Sessions and Leaders of Tomorrow talks fostered discussion on business strategy and public policy: For instance, senior tech executives and policy-makers discussed ways to strengthen trust in emerging digital technologies with selected Leaders of Tomorrow – the results of which will be published in a White Paper together with IMD Business School in the coming weeks. As the start of a new long-term initiative, a roundtable chaired by Prof. Hermann Simon brought together 15 Hidden Champions of the DACH region to identify and share best practices, in order to sustainably position themselves on a competitive international market.

The 50th St. Gallen Symposium was also more open and participatory than ever. The public was invited to join 17 livestreamed sessions. A local panel in Ghana was broadcast on Pan African TV to 40 African countries. The EcoOst St. Gallen Symposium, meanwhile, disseminated and discussed the symposium’s findings for its home region St. Gallen – Appenzell.

Dialogue Continues

“We will continue to discuss, to debate and to collide.” With these words, members of the ISC closed the 50th St. Gallen Symposium, which proved constructive and critical dialogue across generations, sectors and regions is a timeless model to inspire forward-looking thought and action. But as the past year has also shown, the formats through which such dialogue is conducted need to be agile and ever-changing. In the years ahead, the St. Gallen Symposium will continue its transformation towards a year-round, global initiative that embraces digital opportunities to foster leadership with the next generation in mind.

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