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

“Workers are now under threat.”

Jeremy Rifkin, 73 and born in Denver, Colorado, is a man of many occupations. He is a socio-economic theorist, an activist, a political advisor and the president of the Foundation on Economic Trends; a non-profit organisation whose goal is to examine and assess the implications of modern-day trends in science and technology. Rifkin is the author of 20 best-selling books, such as “The Zero Marginal Cost Society” (2014) and “The Third Industrial Revolution” (2011). In his earlier years, he initiated a protest against oil companies in 1973, and launched a campaign against beef consumption in 1993. Rifkin works in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington D.C.

Jeremy Rifkin makes ideas popular. So popular that the 48th St. Gallen Symposium was partly inspired by one of his most well-known books. The symposium’s title – “Beyond the end of work” – is reminiscent of his famous book, “The End of Work,” published in 1995. He has also developed ideas like the Third Industrial Revolution and the Zero Marginal Cost society. He is not just a best-selling author and a theorist: Rifkin is also an activist and a political advisor. At the symposium, Rifkin explained how he comes up with new ideas, why he would advise any country on earth, and why he does not want to retire soon.

How does it feel to have a complete symposium tailored to your ideas?

Well, I think a lot of us are coming to these ideas at the same time.

Keynes had similar ideas seven decades ago.

Keynes addressed the issue of how you deal with technological displacement.  He said we were going to have to re-envision what kind of contributions people make to the world: Let the machines do the heavy lifting, so we do not have to. There is always something  constructive for the human race to do. What he was suggesting was that we create our humanity, we create social capital, and we learn to live together around this planet. There are many things left undone. If we can let machines do the things that we do not need to, that is fine.

You published “The End of Work” in 1995. Now many of its predictions are coming true. Do you consider yourself to be a prophet?

No. You did not have to be clairvoyant to see this situation coming. I said at that time that automation was affecting factory work and now white-collar work. As we move towards the third industrial revolution, we are seeing that knowledge workers and creative workers are under threat because of the introduction of digital technology and computer software. That was already happening in 1995.

Also, the foreword of “The End of Work” was done by Robert Heilbroner, a great economist. And Vassily Leontief, the great Nobel Laureate, did the comment inside. They were already talking about this before me. I am just part of a string that emerged in the 1960s with digital technology.

The question of automation really started with Norbert Wiener in cybernetics, and then Walter Reuther and the unions and then economists Heilbroner and Leontief. By 1995, we were already starting to see these issues explode onto the social scene.

You mention people and ideas from economic history to which you are referring. How do you develop your ideas for books?

I am a lifelong activist, but I also teach, and I write. I think if one is just an activist, without doing any kind of intellectual homework, it is easy to get buried. If one is an intellectual in the ivory tower preparing books and materials that have no relationship with or active involvement in the community, the challenge is appraising what is really happening in the world.

Speaking of activism, Vice Media made a film about you and your work which was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. Are you a pop star?

No. Do I look like one? I am 73 years old. I have been doing this for a long time: Three generations now. There are people I meet who think I am already dead, because they read my books 40 or 50 years ago. It is a long time. It is a matter of just hanging in there and realising the fundamental changes we talk about take at least three generations. Sometimes it is difficult saying the same things over and over again. But one generation may have heard it and you may still need to tell the story again for the next generation.

Your consulting work for governments is non-profit, is that right?

Sometimes I do it for free, sometimes I do it for small fees that are not commensurate with corporate fees. For example, I am doing the European Business Summit in June. We did a strategic study on the third industrial revolution for the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg.

Are there countries or regions you would not advise? What if North Korea would ask for your advice?

It depends. What I would say is, we consult for centre-right and centre-left governments. I would like to see everyone in the world moving to this narrative and this transformation. I know there will be different approaches, there will be things that they do not want to do that I would like them to do. The important thing is that we have got to get a transition across humanity to this post-carbon, digitally-connected, hybrid network capitalist-sharing economy very quickly.

How do you feel if your clients – especially governments – do not take your advice?

We had some earlier projects where the government changed hands. We had a nice plan for Rome, for example, and then the city government changed hands and it did not happen. There was really a lot of work done on that. Our plan for San Antonio went well. They changed their whole model away from fossil fuels and nuclear to solar and wind.

Right now the US government is not focusing on reducing carbon emissions. Does that make you sad?

I do not spend any time thinking about what the federal government in the United States does. I did go to Congress to talk to folks there. If someone running for office wants to talk to me, I will talk to them. If a city or a region or a state government comes to us, we will work with them. We are now starting to focus on North America. Our plans for Europe are moving forward. We have China as a client and that is moving forward too. I would like to move to the United States, Canada, and Mexico next. And India for sure. In fact we are about to announce the first major strategic
fossil fuel to renewables transition plan in North America shortly.

You are writing about the end of work, and the symposium is about the end of work. However, you are about ten years past retirement age. Do you plan to stop working at some point?

I would like to ease off a little bit, especially the travelling. I enjoy doing the research and the books, to tell you the truth.

Are you a little bit addicted to work?

I feel compelled. Given the situation that is going on in the world, it is really tough to say no. It is pretty bad out there, what is happening. On the other hand, I am becoming aware of my health. I would probably like to do a little bit less. That is why I am hoping that other people will come on board.

Share the article

Leave a Reply

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