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
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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Who can close the funding gap?

Zoë Condliffe
CEO of She’s A Crowd

She’s A Crowd is a platform where women can report gender-based violence, like sexual assault, anonymously.

The problem

The issue comes down to patriarchal society, Condliffe says. “Men have more power than women, and exploit that power,” she says. Thus, most investors and influential board members are males. And then there is the bias problem. “People tend to invest in people similar to themselves,” she says. A white man tends to invest in other white men, rather than women.

The solution

Condliffe argues it is really important that we have more women investors and more women in leadership supporting other women. “But I also think because it is really a struggle for women to get to the top, once they get there they are less likely to take risks such as advocate for more women in higher positions,” she says. Women are still facing a lot of barriers in business which need to be removed. Condliffe says quotas could be a good approach to close the gender gap. And not just a tentative 10%  requirement, but a 50/50 quota representing the share of the world population. Says Condliffe: “We need to see ourselves represented in companies and also at conferences like the St. Gallen Symposium.”

Florian Schweitzer
Partner and CEO of btov Partners AG

btov Partners AG is a European venture capital firm with offices in St. Gallen, Berlin, Munich and Luxembourg.

The problem

As an investor, Schweitzer argues that he has a positive bias towards female entrepreneurs. “Women think about something longer than men, and they tend to only start if they are really sure they will succeed,” he argues. According to him, that is why it is better to invest in women. “If I have two teams of entrepreneurs, doing exactly the same thing,” he says, “I very likely would take the female team.”
However, he argues, there are still too few women starting businesses. “This comes back to the fact that many fewer women want to create something new,” he says.  Within the start-up scene in Berlin, which is the tech entrepreneurship hub for German-speaking Europe, there are about 40 women meeting regularly at networking dinners. Those initiatives are important and growing. “That is great, but there is much more potential,” Schweitzer says. “There is a lot of work to do.”

The solution

The work, he argues, has to start at home or at school. “Society seems to move both genders in different directions,” Schweitzer says. Stereotypes are already at play at a very young age. “When it comes to being an entrepreneur, this is really bad,” he says. “Girls need to be empowered to go on entrepreneur journeys.”
However, Schweitzer argues that the gender funding gap is not only the problem of the venture capital industry. “This is also an issue for women themselves. They only ask for funding if they are sure to make it happen,” he says. “They have to be a little bit more bold and sell some more uncertain things – but do not overstretch it and follow the very bad example of Elizabeth Holmes, CEO and founder of Theranos, who confused hope with truth.”

Lisa-Marie Fassl
Co-founder of Female Founders

Female Founders serves as an ecosystem for female entrepreneurship.

The problem

Fassl says telling other people about how amazing they are and how amazing their company is, which is what most start-up pitches boil down to, is something women have trouble with. “That is because women are super realistic,” Fassl says. This is, in terms of sales pitches, not always a winning formula. Like Condliffe, Fassl says women-owned companies get less funding than businesses founded by men due to a certain selection bias. Because venture capital firms all over the world are mostly led by men, Fassl says, “it is not surprising that those male investors prefer to invest in people that they can somehow relate to. And in most cases those are men.”

The solution

“Role models are super important,” says Fassl. “There are some female entrepreneurs out there, there are women CEOs out there, and we need to see them.” There is also an economic reason to bring more female entrepreneurs and investors on board. “They bring this female perspective, which is the perspective of 50% of our population, to the table,” Fassl says. At the end of the day, it is all about diversity. “It’s about having men and women equally represented. Diversity and equality are really important for our society – and economy.”

In order to close the gender funding gap, women should raise their voices and be more assertive. Role models and female investors are of utmost importance in making this work.

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