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?

Sign up for our Newsletter

Sign up for our Newsletter

When home is a window seat

Dominic Barton’s black overnight bag has travelled hundreds of thousands of miles. Inside a zippered pocket are odds and ends: Letters from his mother, family pictures, and other small presents. He finds it funny when, once in a while, the airportworkers screening his luggage look at him with a strange face. And, when he has the chance of staying in the same hotel for a few nights, he takes those items out and places them on a shelf or bedside table. The objects Barton carries around are his way of feeling at home while away.
And Barton travels a lot: As global managing partner of McKinsey & Company, he was on the road 300 nights in 2017. Running a firm and being constantly on the move is a lifestyle that many young people desire. For some, it is a status symbol, and a way to merge work with adventure. The spread of the Internet and the decreasing cost of transportation have allowed many entrepreneurs and “creatives” to become digital nomads. But how does this change the meaning of home? Is it a sustainable way to live?

Flights are a means to an end

Headquarters in London, staff in Barcelona, wife in New York, family in Milan, and a company active in 113 countries: Brian Pallas, CEO of Opportunity Network, likes to say he lives on a plane. In the last year, he took over 300 flights. Roughly, that works out to six flights a week.
When he wakes up, the first thing Pallas asks is: “Am I on a plane or a bed?” For him, flying is amazing. His phone does not constantly ring while in the air. He rarely sees take-offs and landings, since he is usually asleep. He travels light, with only a backpack. He says it all comes down to loving what you do. “That way travelling is worthwhile because of what it achieves,” he says. Flights are a means to an end, and not the other way around.”
Not everybody thinks in such practical terms. Yumna Al-Arashi is an American artist based in London. She travels a lot, first to shoot her films and then to present them in festivals. She sees the possibility of moving around almost as an act of protest. Half Yemeni and half Egyptian, she is aware of the privileges her US passport gives her. Most of her family can’t leave the Middle East.
“The younger version of me would say ‘Oh my God! How cool, how exciting!’” Al-Arashi says. “But, you know, it kind of loses its magic after a while.” For her, moving around is not sustainable in the long-term. Not for her body, not for the environment, and not for her mental health.

When you’re travelling most of the year, little things can make a hotel room feel a little more like home. We asked four road warriors at the symposium what they bring with  them while on the go.

Remembering their roots

Growing up in a rural Canadian town, just going to Vancouver once a year was a big deal for Barton. “We could not travel much, but my parents would tell me stories about different countries and what was going on there while having dinner at the kitchen table,” he says. He always dreamt of exploring the world. Now, once in a while, he wishes he was not on a plane.
The idea that living as a nomad changes the definition of home seems clear cut. It becomes a somewhat fluid concept, in Al-Arashi’s words. It is not a place anymore, but simply where the people you love are.
Florence Brigat, a Tahiti-born Frenchman living in London, recalls how his father would always manage to make it home before he was asleep as a child – though cannot imagine a scenario in which he would have time to start a family. “Travelling so much certainly is glamorous, but I would want to have as much time for my children as possible,” Brigat says. “That does not seem possible right now. I am happy as I am.”
Family relationships are a recurring theme. Levy defines the trade-off between wanting to settle down and the desire to explore the world as a matter of priorities at any given time in a person’s life. “Ideally, I would just start a family and then take them everywhere with me,” he laughs.
“The last time I saw my father was the first time we saw each other in four years,” Al-Arashi says. Still, he is always with her: she has been carrying around his school ID from the American University in Cairo, from when he was young, everywhere she goes. “It is a nice reminder of what he did for me to be able to have the privileges that I have to  make what I can do right now.”

Global versus local

“McKinsey has offices in 65 countries, so I will never be able to do my job effectively sitting in one place,” says Barton. Pallas, Brigat and Al-Arashi find themselves in a similar situation. So do many others. Barton is certain that, although it’s a minority lifestyle today, the travel trend will continue to grow. “I still think the world will be more global,” Barton says. “Ideas cross borders. You have got to interact with people, you have got to see markets.”
On the other hand, technology also enables some people to live more locally. Workers whose jobs can be done digitally sometimes decide to move to small communities. “I think that it is amazing to be able to raise a family in a quiet place and still be able to be global at that level,” Barton says.
Yet being a digital nomad comes at a cost. Al-Arashi, for example, tries to cut other things out of her life to balance her own carbon footprint. Meeting diverse people is what Pallas likes the most. But, even for the most extroverted travellers, in the long run constant travel tends to be lonely. There is also the risk of becoming untethered. “I think you need a base for resilience,” Barton says. “You get setbacks in life and you need people and spaces that make you feel safe.”

All about disciplines

So what does it take to survive – and thrive – as a digital nomad? “I need to stress this strongly,” warns Barton. “It is possible to travel 300 nights a year and still find a balance in life.” It is vital to find an equilibrium between family, a partner, work, and hobbies. And vital to possess the discipline to make it all work: Exercising, reading books, playing music. Looking ahead in the calendar and finding the right moments to spend time with loved ones, even if it requires moving things around. Finding a peer to share  experiences with and talk about life.
A bracelet, a book, an old student ID from her father. A bag full of family memories. There is always something that makes these people feel safe, somewhat at home. Many young professionals are starting to follow in Barton’s footsteps. Slowly, he is getting prepared to  pass his punishing routine on to the next generation: This summer, he plans  to step down from his globe-trotting leadership role. “What I am trying to do now is putting my things in order,” he says. “But you do not need to wait until you are over 50, you  can start to find discipline during your first year of work.”

Share the article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *