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Edison in the Boardroom Revisited: How Leading Companies Realize Value from Their Intellectual Property, Second Edition by Patrick H. Sullivan, Suzanne S. Harrison

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The Characteristics of the Future

If a corporation’s main objective for the long-term future is to exist profitably, then one of its main goals is corporate sustainability. When we wrote Einstein in the Boardroom in 2006, we dedicated an entire chapter to the importance of corporate sustainability and intangibles. In writing about IP’s impact on corporate futures, we revisited our earlier work to see if there was anything we could utilize. In fact, there were quite a number of items. For example, what does corporate sustainability mean? Forbes magazine, in its 2002 Worldwide edition, used this definition: “Corporate sustainability is the umbrella for an expanding set of largely stakeholder-oriented challenges touching key aspects of business performance, competitiveness, and even survival.”

The Gathering perceives corporate sustainability in two ways. Sustainability with a capital S describes how the firm acts or interacts with its community and with society on a long-term basis. But Sustainability with a capital S is not our primary interest here. Sustainability as it relates to this chapter is thought of with a small s. For IP management, sustainability is concerned with how the firm’s current decisions affect its future value potential.

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