This is a photograph of the The Wright Brothers patented plans of their first airplane. It shows diagrams of how the plane is constructed.

This week, we learned that Orville and Wilbur Wright’s century-old patent for their Flying Machine was unearthed at the National Archives office in Kansas City, Mo., after having gone missing for nearly four decades.

The news was heralded by media and pundits as the finding of a treasure and the discovery of something priceless. It came shortly after Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin commercial space company executed its third successful suborbital rocket launch and vertical landing. Blue Origin’s motto, Gradatim Ferociter or “step by step, ferociously,” is a brilliant illustration of how historical antecedents remain relevant and valuable today and represent the foundation upon which today’s technological, scientific and business advances are built.

Unearthing corporate heritage and working with some of the world’s leading visionary leaders to connect those unique and proprietary artifacts to today’s reality and tomorrow’s vision is what The History Factory has been doing for nearly four decades. Our clients understand that the goal is not simply to preserve and reveal the past through corporate storytelling, archival management or a company anniversary, but to shape the future.

In my new book, Start with the Future and Work Back (Hamilton Books, due April 15), I tell stories about ways in which leading global organizations are leveraging their heritage assets to advance their business agenda and raise brand awareness; engage and inspire employees; and spark growth.

Start with the Future and Work Back makes a case for applying heritage management as a strategic discipline that enables organizations to differentiate themselves, drive growth and remain relevant in an increasingly competitive global economy. In the weeks to come, we’ll share additional stories from our rich archive of experience in leveraging heritage management on behalf of some of the world’s leading organizations.

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