Summary of Achieving Longevity

How Great Firms Prosper Through Entrepreneurial Thinking

University of Toronto Press, more...

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Achieving Longevity book summary
Focusing on innovation rather than commoditizing technology promotes business “longevity.”


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9 Innovation

9 Style


Most people argue that the rate of change has accelerated. However, University of Calgary strategy professor Jim Dewald makes the case that change actually has slowed markedly compared with the pace of change a century ago, when the motorcar, the telephone and the electric lightbulb shook up the global economy. Since the early 1900s, businesses have concentrated on commoditizing these technologies. If they are rigid, that focus could put them at risk as fundamental changes now further transform technology and the economy. Companies can increase their “longevity” by abandoning rigid forms of strategic planning and encouraging thinking and behavior that boosts innovation. getAbstract recommends Dewald’s provocative thesis to entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the rate of economic change has slowed,
  • Why businesses concentrated on commoditizing three “general purpose technologies” in the 1900s, and
  • Why companies interested in “longevity” should encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in the face of change.


Seeking “Longevity”
Many businesses no longer try to create new ventures. Instead, they copy others. Emulating other firms can reduce a company’s risks and give its leaders the sense that they are competing in a stable market with the prospect of healthy returns. Unfortunately, senior ...
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About the Author

Jim Dewald is dean of the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business where he is also an associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship.

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