The first time I walked into the London headquarters of Standard Chartered Bank, I was enchanted by a set of sepia photographs of tents in the deserts of Arabia. These were the first trading posts of what was then the Standard Bank of British South Africa. The photographs were taken around 1865 and show the first employees of the bank, resplendent in pith hats and linen suits sitting on tables under canvas tents. They had traveled from London to be the bankers for the traders who led their caravans of camels bearing silks and spices across the trade routes of the desert. Along the wall was another set ...

Get The Key: How Corporations Succeed by Solving the World's Toughest Problems now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.