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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Words that shaped my life

I had the opportunity to visit the University of St. Gallen, as a finalist of the ISC Symposium (now St. Gallen Symposium) in 2001 and 2002. It was my first trip outside India, my home then, and a very memorable one at that. The memories of home-stay with a local student of the university, along with the networking and sharing of ideas with the participants at the symposium are still etched in my mind.

I am sure each finalist feels honored and humbled to be a part of the St. Gallen Symposium. I for one definitely felt honored to be amongst the best in terms of the student participants as well as the corporate and political speakers. I was truly humbled and enlightened by the various presentations made by the participants and the chance to interact with the participants. The symposium gave me an exposure to the global stage and with it, the ideas that are most relevant to the world. More than a decade ago, in St. Gallen, we were in a miniecosystem where a handful of people were debating and discussing ideas that would be relevant to the future of mankind, and where we could shape the world we live in.

Impressions of the 31st St. Gallen Symposium (ISC-Symposium at the time)

The topics that were chosen for the essays were very thought provoking; for instance, in 2001 the topic was New Balance of Power and in 2002 it was Pushing Limits, Questioning Goals. Looking back, these topics are still very relevant.

The first essay was about how the balance of power between governments and the business sector will shift from the government playing a “regulatory” role in 20th century to that of a “growth catalyst” in the 21st century. 15 years fast forward the buzzwords deregulation, digitization and go-green are everywhere and are becoming mainstream through government-led initiatives such as the Smarter Financial Centre initiative of the MAS1, Digital India2 and Swacch Bharat3.

The second essay I wrote was about how companies can maximize efficiency (push their limits) to achieve short-term success but will need to look to become innovative (question their goals) to survive and compete in the long run. This is even more relevant in today’s era given the global financial cisis, the coming of age of Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Alibaba and others and the rise of consumer expectations during the last 15 years. There is hardly any industry that has not been disrupted by tech-startups (whether it is Fintech, Medtech, Agritech or even Edtech). While Artificial Intelligence and Robotics might help improve efficiencies in the short-term, companies will need to play in the “sharing economy” and innovative their business models to survive in the long run.

Impressions of the 32nd St. Gallen Symposium (ISC-Symposium at the time)

Both of my visits to the symposium left me feeling a little wiser and ingrained in me a sense of self-leadership that has guided me and will continue to guide me as I traverse through various levels of my corporate journey. It has instilled in me an understanding that enough is never enough and there is always something more to learn, to do and to help accomplish to make the world a better place.

As I reflect on the essays I had penned down 15 years back, I realize that those were not just words or discussion topics but were building blocks that subconsciously have been shaping up my thought process and actions throughout my life. I am currently in a senior leadership role in the Fintech and Innovation team at one of the top banks in the world and I fully understand and realize the need to constantly push limits and question goals (learn, unlearn and relearn) to enable my organization to compete in the 21st century through new business models, new technologies and new skill sets. I also see the balance of power shifting from the large corporates and the government to tech startups and consumers, and hence we are playing a very active role to embed our organization into social eco-systems and participating in the “sharing economy” rather than do it all by ourselves.


1 (Banking regulator in Singapore taking the lead on Financial technologies OR “Fintech” such as Blockchain, Roboadvisory, Big data, Biometrics, Digital payments, P2P lending, etc.)

(Government of India’s campaign to ensure that Government. services are made available to citizens electronically through innovative initiatives such as unique Identity for each of the 1.3 billion Indians)

3 (Government of India’s campaign to clean up the streets, roads & infrastructure of India).

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