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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Youth Deserve a Seat at the Climate Negotiation Table

While youth are highly aware and willing to take climate action, they are barely represented in relevant decision-making bodies, including at the UN. To restore trust, we need to rethink our current structures and shift power from nations to stakeholder groups.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that we are in the midst of a man-made climate crisis, and we are feeling the effects already today. While we the youth contributed the least and are excluded from political and economic macro decision-making, we will live with the consequences the longest. Generations before us have changed the composition of the atmosphere to a point where climate and related crises are an existential threat to life as we know it today. Ours is the era of the Anthropocene.

A vision and strategy are needed. In 2015, all United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as the Paris Agreement on Climate Action, providing a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet as well as unprecedented climate action. Yet, we are far off track to achieve the goals set by decision-makers of the older generation. As a result, young people are scared, frustrated and depressed. Eco- and climate anxiety are common fears amongst youth.

No More Empty Promises

We can no longer watch decision-makers driving us even further into a climate catastrophe. Hence, we are united in an unprecedented global movement fighting the climate crisis. Already before Greta Thunberg started her school strike for climate in August 2018, there have been actions led by young people holding decision-makers accountable. But only Greta Thunberg’s Friday’s for Future movement engaged youth and later on adults around the globe to call on politicians and decision makers to take immediate unprecedented actions – youth is taking #NoMoreEmptyPromises.

There are many studies showing that youth are more concerned and willing to take bold climate actions than older generations. While there is no clear evidence on the reasons for the gap between generations, there are some plausible explanations, including the willingness to absorb new ideas on climate action and the fact that youth will live to experience more severe effects of climate change.

While youth are more aware and willing to act, we are barely represented in decision making. The current youth population is the biggest ever, with those under 30 years old making up over half of the world’s population. For example, in the main conferences of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), there is no person below the age of 26 represented in a governmental leadership position.

Restoring Youth’s Trust in Climate Policies – Marie-Claire Graf on her Topic Brief
We Need Structural Changes in Who Makes Decisions

While young climate activists are keen to move from the streets to negotiating seats, there are plenty of obstacles in our way. The probably biggest deficit of today’s international organisations such as the United Nations in terms of integrating the opinion and interests of the young generation lies within the structure itself. The UN is a government-driven process allowing only governments to take decisions, leaving almost all youth behind.

In order to have a seat at the decision-making table, youth must either convince older decision makers or become part of the delegations and get a negotiation mandate. While youth is working to inform and influence decision making with policy briefs and recommendations since the adoption of the UNFCCC in 1992, we are still sitting in the back row and our voices are listened to only when we don’t criticise existing structures.

While we aim and envision a climate positive and just society living in harmony with nature and the planet, we need an empowered youth driving meaningful, impactful and positive change locally, nationally and internationally. For this we need a UN where youth is fully equipped sitting at the decision-making tables and is taken seriously.

How Do We Get There?

The trickiest part are the next steps, defining what needs to be done to overcome the challenges and reach the vision in time. As outlined, youth needs to become part of country delegations to be able to sit at the tables in UN decision making – of which we fortunately start to see examples. But to make these positions effective, there needs to be an appropriate mandate, prior capacity building, adequate preparation time and support at the negotiations itself. Additionally, there needs to be a cultural shift as young people are still facing a lot of age discrimination.

A personal story: at the 25th UNFCCC Conference I had the honour and privilege to be part of the Swiss federal delegation as a negotiator. During the negotiation an older male negotiator from a European country asked me for the contact of our negotiator. I replied that I am representing Switzerland in these negotiations. He reiterated that he wants to talk to the Swiss negotiator. He clearly could not cope with the reality that a young female negotiator is sitting at the table.

We do not only need youth in delegations, but we moreover need older delegates to be supportive of youth taking over seats and decisions. In addition, we need more youth in domestic politics and legislative bodies, as ultimately international delegations mirror national inequalities.

We could also think a little bit more outside the box on how the UNFCCC itself could evolve and give youth and future generations a veto power in decision-making through YOUNGO – the official UNFCCC constituency on youth which represents the voice of children and youth in the formal negotiation processes. Inspired by the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, what if we can raise a veto in case public decisions conflict with our fundamental right to a liveable future? For this we need to rethink our current decision-making structure and shift power from nations to stakeholder groups, in order to leave no one behind and restore trust.

Trust comes with responsibility and we the youth are ready to take on responsibility. Now we need the structures to change.

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