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The UNITE Innovation & Transformation Models -
Average life expectancy of S&P 500 companies.

A visual depiction of the decreasing lifes expectancy of companies based on data from Standard and Poor’s.

Understand how the lifespan of companies has decreased based on reliable financial data

Consider and discuss the effects on your organization

What the download contains

  • Average life expectancy of S&P 500 companies
What People Are Saying

Why we use it:

The average lifespan of companies has been falling dramatically over the past 100 years. Both external and internal factors are fueling this change. Understanding this fact clarifies the need for a company to continually reinvent itself.

In the past, companies lasted for a human lifetime. By 1964, the average life expectancy of a company on the S&P 500 had fallen to 33 years. By 2014 it had shrunk to 22 years, and it is supposed to fall to 12 by 2027.

This means that we can no longer plan in ten-year blocks. As technology accelerates, your company needs to be thinking about how to continually look for opportunities for growth and innovation. This may mean moving into adjacent fields or spinning off a separate company to fulfill a customer’s unmet need. Or it may mean taking a hard look at your business and thinking about how you can disrupt yourself. Regardless, you don’t have the option of resting on your laurels. If you want to survive, you’ve got to keep moving.

What is the goal of the model?

“Understanding that the life expectancy of companies is falling dramatically is just the first step”. The biggest driver of this shortening lifespan is technological disruption which is expected to further accelerate.

That means you can no longer optimize your business and put it on autopilot. You need to reinvent yourself every decade, if not sooner. The best way to achieve this is to use the 3 Horizons of Growth as a framework, conduct portfolio allocation based on the 3 Horizons, and take bold steps to start on a continuous journey of transformation and innovation. 



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Related tools & models


The following tools and models support the one you are exploring. If you’re ready to go further, check them out., download the models below and continue your journey …


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Explore the other models in the category you started with or take a look at these related categories. There is no right way to use these tools. Follow the path that works best for you and your team.

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The Origin of this Model:
» How to Create Innovation «

How to Create Innovation is a practical, comprehensive, OpenSource guide for successful corporate innovation. The UNITE initiative and movement, spearheaded by Stefan F. Dieffenbacher and Caroline Hüttinger and supported by a diverse team of industry leaders and innovation researchers, aims to spark a revolution in global innovation and transformation.


How to CREATE INNOVATION is a workbook for students, innovators, designers, and government and corporate leaders who appreciate and are curious about emerging technologies and the accelerating pace of innovation. It challenges the status quo and supports the development of the mindset, beliefs and strategies necessary for the next stage of business evolution. Leverage the UNITE innovation framework to conceptualize and build the future of your business.

Benefit from Digital
Leaderships’ experience


Digital Leadership is a strategy-execution firm built on strong and innovative values. We support our customers in strategizing, building and securing their future through the creation of fully digitally enabled, and extraordinarily successful, products and businesses. Our agile, lean, fast-track business setup, coupled with access to an extensive pool of highly specialized and trusted resources (customized for each customer’s journey), allows for ideating and building in an effective and meaningful way.


Shared goals are the cornerstone of our customer approach. To date, our team has successfully led 74 projects with numerous global players across all industry sectors, ranging from $50,000 projects to $100 million ones. But helping our customers’ build their futures is not enough. We are committed to changing the world through the sharing of powerful innovation and transformation practices. Join the UNITE movement and help us start an innovation revolution.

Stefan F. Dieffenbacher
Founder & Managing Director of Digital Leadership

»We build digital winners.
It's what we are made for. Let's create winning digital businesses – together. And, at the same time, let’s create a world worth living in.«


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