Michael D. Moberly June 29, 2017 firstname.lastname@example.org ‘A business intangible asset blog where attention span really matters’!
I routinely have-the-opportunity to talk with a cross-section of business leaders, management team members, and entrepreneurs about the IA’s (intangible assets) embedded in their organization, generally in the form of intellectual, relationship, and structural capital.
Not long ago, I had a particularly notable conversation with a very astute senior executive who intended no disrespect by suggesting, that the development, unraveling, assessment, and exploitation of IA’s is, through her lens, remains largely theoretical and not a practical exercise she could recommend engaging. I translated her remarks thusly; intangible assets lacked sufficient revenue – competitive advantage side (bottom line) application. I obviously disagree!
Unfortunately, there remain too many business leaders and management team members inclined to rudely characterize the development and exploitation of intangible assets as mere theories, best addressed in university lecture halls as uncollaborated and unsubstantiated opinions that will not hold up to the rigors, stresses, and speed required in today’s aggressive and competitive business (transaction) environments.
Having taught in universities for 25+ years, I can say, without hesitation, that a significant percentage of the time when-if I ever uttered the word theory in a classroom, or during a presentation to a professional (practitioner) association, the initial reaction tended to manifest as presumptions, conveyed by audience ‘body language’ that the intangible asset messages the audience was about to be introduced, would have little, if any, relevance to their ‘real business world’.
Not wishing to have my message advocating businesses to exploit their IA’s reduced to the time- honored sport of theory vs. reality, I chose to re-characterize the word ‘theory’ to represent thoughtful and generally well researched attempts to explain a specific phenomenon, in this instance, the contributory role and value of intangible assets. In my business reality, a theory is an expression of a concept or idea that is testable, replicable, and based upon well-grounded hypotheses. In the world of business management, economics, and organizational behavior, it is an irrefutable economic fact that 80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, stability, sustainability, and profitability lie in – evolve directly from intangible assets!
While characterizing theories in this manner has paid noticeable dividends to me as an IA strategist and risk specialists, in terms of audience receptivity, which I still apply today, it is still disappointing and frustrating to witness, otherwise intelligent, experienced, and successful business leaders be dismissive of, or wholly reject this well-established and universal economic fact, especially when, as I have found in numerous instances, those same business management teams are leading, unbeknownst to them, a business that is, by definition, IA intensive and dependent!
In my judgment, what prompted intangible asset ‘think tanks’, i.e., Brookings Institution, Athena Alliance, IC Knowledge Center, the Intangible Asset Finance Society, KPSTRAT, and others to engage business intangibles occurred, in part, by demonstrating their conspicuous role in most all business transactions along with the
• need for effective stewardship, oversight, management, exploitation,
and monetization of the assets.
• forward-looking-thinking role for intangible assets in most every
business initiative, process, and/or transactions.
• unrelenting reality that conventional financial statements and
balance sheets no longer convey an adequate, nor complete picture of
a company’s entire (real) financial health absent fully addressing
the role and contributory value of intangible assets.
The inclusion of a company’s intangible assets in valuation, management, and accounting leads to a far more insightful portrait of any businesses current financial circumstance by comprehensively describing a company’s value, its sources of revenue, its future wealth creation potential, its sustainability, profitability, and overall stability through an IA lens.
Thus, to respectfully appeal to the various business persons who remain reluctant to engage their businesses IA’s or still convey skepticism of the role, value, and influence IA’s play in business, what follows are relevant and practical definitions of intangible assets, i.e., they are…
• unique blends of know how-based assets that variously intersect to support specific (often proprietary) methodologies, processes, best practices, and information sharing infrastructures. Adapted by Michael D. Moberly from the experienced work of Weston Anson, CONSOR
• interwoven – embedded processes, relationships, and operating culture in synchronized to market demands-conditions to differentiate businesses (in their market spaces-sectors) to create-deliver value, generate revenue, and build-sustain competitive advantages. Adapted by Michael D. Moberly from the fine work of Michael Porter, Harvard Business School
• economic benefits anchored in company processes, personnel, efficiencies, and/or programs that set a company apart from its competitors to create new and sustainable sources revenue and value. Michael D. Moberly
• at the center of all business innovation; they come at the beginning as ideas, at the middle as processes, and at the end as commercialization and distribution channels. Adapted by Michael D. Moberly from the many years of excellent work of Dr. Baruch Lev, NYU, Stearns School of Economics
• are generally naturally-organically occurring (not necessarily
purposefully manufactured) elements.
• which become embedded in organizational behavior, practices, and
• frequently are variants of intellectual, structural, and/or
• where they often await recognition, identification, assessment,
development, and conversion.
• when effectively safeguarded and exploited, there is ample evidence
they can produce – deliver lucrative and competitive outcomes.