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Consider this: only 11 percent of the Fortune 500 companies from 1955 still exist today, while the average time that companies stay in the top 500 has fallen from 75 years to 15 years.Countries whose governments grow old face the same fate as outdated companies.To avoid this fate, governments must focus on what really matters: how to be like the 11 percent of companies that have remained, through the decades, in the top 500 . The life cycle of companies should teach governments that the secret of eternal youth is constant innovation – seizing opportunities and behaving like the dynamic, entrepreneurial companies that are defining today's world and shaping its future.Whereas more than 80 percent of the value of the Standard & Poor's 500 consisted of tangible assets 40 years ago, today that ratio is reversed: more than 80 percent of the largest companies' value is intangible – the knowledge and skills of their employees and the intellectual property embedded in their products.Most of today's transformative companies are well known for having an innovative corporate culture and working environment that inspires and empowers employees. Governments that set an example for innovation have the power to implant a nationwide culture of creativity. For governments, innovation is an existential question.
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