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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What comes after the car?

Wilfried Porth arrived in St. Gallen by car. As a member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, this might not be surprising, but he was far from alone: A large number of students, leaders and speakers did the same.

Even though motor vehicles are the most commonly used modes of transportation today, another future may lie ahead of us. If the most extreme predictions come true, only  20% of Americans will own a car in 15 years. Instead, carsharing systems and self-driving cars may be their first choice for getting around. The number of passenger  vehicles on American roads is also expected to plummet, from 247 million in 2020 to 44 million in 2030.

Not only one vision

“Everyone is talking about carsharing, which is a fast-developing business model and getting more and more attractive,” Porth says. The company is developing different ecosystems for urban mobility. Recently, Daimler AG and BMW Group announced that they want to combine their carsharing businesses to shape the future of mobility.  The joint venture also includes ride-hailing, parking and electric-vehicle charging. “We cannot rule out any technology,” he says. “To focus on only one technology would not be clever.”

The Daimler executive points out that car companies’ need to maintain a diversified portfolio of technologies means combustion engines have not yet reached the end of the road. “At the moment, technologies are declared dead that are not really dead at all,” Porth says. But, with China, the world’s largest car market, looking to ditch gas and diesel cars in favor of cleaner vehicles in the future, there are signs that the internal combustion  engine has a limited future. “The question is whether a modernised combustion engine, the fuel cell or a battery-charged electric vehicle can create the best overall ecological footprint in specific use cases. For example, you have to take into account where the energy for e-mobility comes from,” Porth says. And that, says Porth, is not something that the customer has to worry about at the moment – a claim which many analysts, investors, and car buyers might disagree with.

There might be another group that has something to worry about. Carsharing systems and new engine technologies could leave many automotive industry workers without  jobs. The automotive industry is an important factor for the worldwide labour market: Today around 13 million people in Europe and 7 million in the US work in the car industry.

Different skills will be required to produce the cars of the future, however. New machinery, automation and products like electric vehicles will demand new skills from the automotive workforce, while other skills will no longer be needed. For example, while a gasoline or diesel engine consists of more than 1,000 parts, there are only around 200 parts in electric engines. A study carried out by the German Automobile Association and the Ifo Institute claims that with the end of combustion engines around 600,000 jobs in the auto industry would be threatened in Germany alone.

Retraining workers is one possible fix. “We have always prepared people for new challenges,” says Porth, whose responsibility as a Daimler board member includes human resources. “It is true that the challenge we are facing seems bigger than those we have dealt with in the past, but change, innovation and evolution is nothing new for us. We have a 130 year history of managing change successfully.”

Game-changing technology

Changes in the automotive industry do not only affect car manufacturers, they also have an effect on upstream industries such as steel, chemicals, or textiles, as well as on downstream industries including car repair and mobility services.

Wolf-Henning Scheider has been CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG – an industry giant with more than 146,000 employees – since February 2018. What could new technology mean for one of the biggest automotive suppliers in the world? “We have experienced some upheaval over the last few decades, says Scheider. “However, in the end we always came through with more employees.”

Scheider says that the car of the future will look simpler. But this car will need different technologies, utilising “fewer mechanical and more electronic components.”

Like Porth, Scheider believes that offering more employee training could solve qualification issues. “We already train our workers,” says Scheider. “But I do not want to play down the fact that the need for some skills is decreasing, while the demand for others is on the rise.”

But is this really enough? If the electric motor is built by only a few people, what happens to the surplus workers? Scheider says that some challenges are too big for companies to solve alone. As jobs come under threat by automation and shifting technology, cooperation with the government is important to manage this change on a macroeconomic level.

So is the car industry ready for the revolution? That depends on the kind of revolution we will face. Porth says their business model might change in the future, but it will not be totally different. “We will sell cars, but we will also sell mobility,” he says.

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