How a South African village inspired new ways of developing employees in the US — Quartz

In recent years, a handful of powerful US-based corporations have announced dramatic overhauls to their operations, putting opportunities for employee learning front and center.

At AT&T, it’s part of a reinvention, giving the entire business a new focus. For Visa, it’s about fending off disruption from new technologies and grabbing market share in the digital space. HP Inc. considers it a crucial part of building a new identity after a corporate split. From Qualcomm to T-Mobile to the world’s largest retailer, big businesses are jumping onto this trend.

In all these cases, executives have a remote South African village to thank for the technology they’re using.

In 2011, I traveled to Mabarhule, part of Mpumalanga province in the northeastern part of the country. The village…

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