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
Watch Here

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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“We Must Develop a New Relationship With the Natural World”

A Conversation with Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE (Part 1 of 2)

Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE is an ethologist and environmentalist, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Through more than 60 years of ground-breaking work, she has not only shown us the urgent need to protect chimpanzees from extinction; she has also redefined species conservation to include the needs of local people and the environment. Today there are 25 Jane Goodall Institutes working to support JGI’s core environmental initiatives.

Dr Goodall was a speaker at the 50th St. Gallen Symposium on “Trust Matters”. Prior to the symposium, she talked about the imperatives stemming from the coronavirus pandemic for environmental action and the role of trust for environmental conservation to Grégoire Roos, St. Gallen Leader of Tomorrow.

This is the first part of this interview. You can find the second part here.

Grégoire Roos: Your exceptional work on and with chimpanzees since the beginning of the 1960s has taught us a lot about what animals are capable of (emotions & feelings, cognitive capacities…). In this extraordinary conjunction of crises we are currently living (pandemic, climate change, deforestation…), what can this teach us about the need for us, humans, to approach nature with humility?

Jane Goodall: Well for a start it can teach us to treat animals (who are a part of nature, just as we are!), the natural world and each other with respect – we are all interconnected. You’re talking of a conjunction of crises, and you’re right. And the truth is: the way we have been treating animals and the natural world, i.e. with disrespect, resulted in Covid-19. Because we’ve created conditions that make it very easy for a pathogen to jump from an animal to a person. We cut down forests, we force some animals into closer contact with people, we hunt them, kill them, capture them alive, traffic them around the world to sell in wildlife markets in horrible, cruel and highly unhygienic conditions. All of this makes it quite easy for something like this coronavirus to jump from an animal to a person and create a new disease – COVID-19 – that led to a pandemic that swept around the world and caused all this suffering.

But you know it’s also our disrespect of the environment, the natural world, that’s led to climate change, which is a far greater threat than a pandemic to our future, and to the loss of biodiversity. We’re now living through the sixth great extinction of plants and animal species. And this time people realise that we are actually a part of the natural world and we depend on it, and yet we continue to destroy it, and by doing so we destroy our own future.

Roos: In a recent conversation about the current crisis of politics shaking liberal democracies, American philosopher Martha Nussbaum argued we needed to acknowledge our own vulnerability, to reckon with our fragility as human beings to enable empathy and soothe social and interpersonal relations. I feel this has also been your message for a long time: fragility calls for humility, simply because we’re not alone on this planet, and animals have a right of their own to be here and enjoy their own space on Earth. But many don’t want to recognise this “common vulnerability” and prefer to hide behind their sentiment of omnipotence…

Dr Goodall: Indeed, that’s right. And research has now shown that animals are sentient beings: they have feelings, personalities… You know we talk about the terrible conditions on a factory farm, which can lead (and has actually led) to new zoonotic diseases. But the real question is not just about the terrible conditions in which pigs, for example, are kept and treated on a hog farm, it’s above all the fact that each of these pigs, that is treated like a thing, has a personality. They are as intelligent as dogs. We now know how intelligent many animals are: the great apes and monkeys, elephants and whales, some birds. And we are learning ever more about the amazing intelligence of octopuses.

So, we have to start thinking in a new way. Animals are not here for us to do with as we wish. And if we don’t start respecting them and the environment that keeps them – and us – alive, then our future is jeopardised. So it is indeed the question of acknowledging that, as you say, we’re not alone, that animals have a right to be here and also that they help to create these ecosystems on which we depend. We are all interrelated: the animals, the environment and human beings. We have to treat it as a whole, and respect everything.

Roos: What you say can have a strong dialectical power: nature and animals can be a strength, a richness, also for the development of our societies. I believe it’s all the idea behind one of the Jane Goodall Institute’s flagship programmes, Tacare (TakeCare) that was launched in 1994 in Tanzania but which has been replicated in western and central Africa. Aimed at addressing poverty and supporting sustainable livelihoods in remote villages, Tacare seeks to empower the local populations to take care of the forest, which is central to their living environment. But showing people that by taking care of the forest and nature they take care of themselves and their future is precisely the challenge. How do you convince them and win their trust?

Dr Goodall: As you mentioned, we started Tacare more than a quarter of a century ago, when I realised that Gombe [a small national park in western Tanzania], which had been past of great forest was by the late 80s just a tiny island of trees, surrounded by bare hills. There were more people living there than the land could support. The people living around Gombe were desperately poor. They were cutting down trees, even on very steep slopes, to find new fertile land to grow food to feed their families.

When we began Tacare, we chose and employed a small group of local Tanzanians, and they went into the twelve villages around Gombe, asking people what JGI could do to make their lives better. We didn’t talk about chimpanzees, saving the forest or anything like that, but just asked them what we could do to improve their situations. Well, they said, grow more food for a start, which meant that we had to work to restore fertility to the overused land without fertiliser and chemicals. And then they asked for better health and education facilities. So we worked on that with the local government authorities (which should have been doing it anyway!) and, gradually, the people came to trust us and we could then introduce microcredit programmes, so that people could take out tiny loans to start a small environmentally sustainable business of their own. And we provided scholarships for girls so they had a chance of secondary education.

Gradually people began emerging from poverty. Most of the chimpanzees are living in the village forest reserves where they’re actually not protected at all. So we trained volunteers from each village to use smartphones to go into the forest and monitor things like an illegally cut tree or an animal trap – or a chimpanzee sighting. They learnt how to upload this information onto a platform in the cloud, which could be accessed on a phone or a tablet. So everything became suddenly transparent and the village chief could see what was happening in his forest, he could no longer pretend he did not know about illegal activities. There were laws of course, but they were being disregarded. It was important that the people became actively involved in monitoring the health of their environment.

So now, because we’ve worked for and with them, we gradually gained their trust. We now have the Tacare programme in 104 villages around Gombe and the people understand that protecting the forest isn’t just for the wildlife, it’s also for their own future, for them. They understand the benefits the forest can give them: clean air, clean water, regulating the climate, rainfall and so on. Tacare is now in six other African countries where we work to conserve chimpanzees and help local communities. Everybody has benefitted.

Roos: So it is also about empowering people…

Dr Goodall: Exactly. We are empowering people. Putting the tools of conservation and knowledge into their hands. Because it’s their land! They need to feel a sense of responsibility, and to understand the need for protecting the environment. The old way of conservation – remove the people from the area in order to protect it for the animals sometimes worked if people were compensated, but for the most part it created resentment. Conservation must include the local populations, whose trust you must win so they can become partners in conservation.

Young researcher Jane Goodall with David Greybeard, the first chimpanzee to lose his fear of her when she began her studies in Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve in Tanganyika. © The Jane Goodall Institute / By Hugo Van Lawick

Roos: Winning trust is also true for animals… I’d like to go back to November 1960, to your relationship with David Greybeard, the first chimpanzee to lower his guard and let himself be touched by a human. What did it require to reach such a level of trust with a chimp? What did it take for fear to fade away and for David Greybeard to let himself be approached and touched? I guess that patience would be the first prerequisite…

Dr Goodall: Patience, that’s the word! But I’d first say that all chimps have their own personality and David Greybeard, for some reason, was always less afraid of people. He was sometimes seen along the shore of Lake Tanganyika, feeding on figs or other foods close to the fishermen’s huts, whereas other chimps wouldn’t come anywhere near because they were afraid of all people. So this may explain why I – this weird white one! – won his trust before that of his companions.

It was David whom I first saw using grass stems as tools to fish for thermites – that very famous observation which became one of the highlights of my studies there at that time. Then, well, patience… yes. It was four months before I could watch any of the chimps except through binoculars. And it was another five or six months before he would allow me to actually follow him when he moved away into the forest. I remember when I got back from the forest one evening and my cook told me a male chimp had arrived to feed on oil palm nuts actually in my camp.

It was David, of course. And he stole some bananas from my tent! He came every day to eat nuts, and I left out bananas. And one day, when I’d been at Gombe for about a year, he actually took a banana from my hand. Months later he allowed me to groom him. Today we never get so close to the chimps, but back then, you know, it was so magical to have a wild chimpanzee so trusting that he would actually allow me to groom him. It was – well – magical.

Roos: So the first thing to gain his trust was actually time. Patience…

Dr Goodall: Patience, yes. Wearing the same-coloured clothes every day, always looking the same, not trying to get too close too quickly. That’s why I never tried to follow him until I was sure it would be okay.

Roos: You’ve become – and rightfully so – a role model for generations of environmentalists and women. A young girl, in her 20s, going to the middle of nowhere in Africa, without prior preparation or experience of the wildlife, back in the 1960s, seems like a feat. But I believe you didn’t go alone… Your mother accompanied you, which actually makes the story even more remarkable, as many mothers back then would have rather thought their daughter was crazy to go on such a journey. To what extent did your mother play a role in your first steps as chimp observer? Her trust in you must have helped cement your self-confidence at a challenging time…

Dr Goodall: In a way yes. But there is actually a misconception here that many people have. My mother supported me all my childhood, supported my love of animals, she didn’t get angry when I disappeared for four hours – even though she’d been so worried she’d called the police. I’d been hiding in a hen house to see how a hen laid an egg. She listened to my excited story, thus nurturing my curiosity. She got books for me about animals… And she never laughed at me, like everyone else, when I decided, at 10 years old, that I would study wild animals in Africa.

My first trip was on my own. That was in 1957, and that’s when I met Louis Leakey [1903-1972, British paleoanthropologist and pioneer, who raised money for people to do field research on primates], who asked me if I would like to study chimps. I immediately said yes, yes, yes! But it was very hard to get the money. It was unheard for a young girl to undertake such a job – and I hadn’t even been to college, I had no degree. But finally, Leakey managed to find money for six months. The next big problem: at that time, Tanzania, which was still called Tanganyika, was one of the last outposts of the crumbling British Empire, and the British authorities refused permission: “a young girl, out in the forest? That is impossible!” But eventually they said: “alright, if she brings a companion”…

So it was then that my mother volunteered to be that companion. She could only stay for four months, out of my six months. But it was wonderful, because she boosted my moral, and when I got back depressed she would say: “oh think about what you are learning!” And she started a little clinic for the local fishermen: she wasn’t a doctor or a nurse but her brother was a doctor, and he sent us off with things like aspirins and Epsom salts. In this way she built up this wonderful relationship with the fishermen, who began coming from miles along the beach to get medicine from her. Later I discovered they referred to her as a wonderful “white witch doctor”. So she was tremendously helpful and supportive, but I would happily have gone without her! She never came up into the mountains with me – she did not have a strong heart. But she loved walking along the beach.

Roos: So much trust in one’s daughter’s dreams and potential is not that common. It’s a remarkable story I find…

Dr Goodall: It is indeed! And my mother was truly a remarkable person. And I credit much of who I am now to the way she brought me up. Absolutely!

This is the first part of this interview. You can find the second part here

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