Michael D. Moberly
Intangible asset clarity will influence – persuade more organizations and management teams to engage these valuable, competitive advantage assets!
I have encountered numerous circumstances during client engagements or while conducting educational seminars or presentations professional groups wherein practitioners exhibit-express challenges insofar as ‘crossing the chasm’ from the tangible to the intangible. Never-the-less, achieving operational – managerial level familiarity with the intangible asset-side of any business, which variously consists of intellectual, structural, relationship, and competitive-entrepreneurial capital, is, with more frequency, considered a requisite to relevant endorsements.
Yes, the language used by intangible asset purists to characterize the attributes of intangible assets may be variously elusive to strategic planning, in part because intangibles are too frequently framed in obscure contexts which moderate, if not impede, organization-wide understanding and receptivity. For example, language routinely used to describe IA’s, characterizes them as non-physical ‘things’ of value that have no conventional sense of physicality, no set monetary value, and are not reported on balance sheets or financial statements.
Admittedly, obscure characterizations such as this, while it is technically correct and aligns with conventional accounting and valuation standards, does little to engender sufficient managerial-operational confidence which can translate as mission resolve to aggressively engage and exploit intangible assets, irrespective of the fact most (intangible assets) originate, develop, and mature internally. This is particularly evident among business leadership and management teams who are inclined to interpret ‘the act of engaging intangible assets’ requires substantial organizational disruption and resources.
I served as a keynote speaker in London (UK) several years ago, for an intangible asset curious audience where I learned the British generally refer to intangible assets as the ‘invisibles’ which perhaps, no-so-coincidentally, may be an apropos designation for the U.S. business community as well.
This intangible asset strategist assumes responsibility to bring operational clarity-familiarity to intangible assets regardless of the venue, circumstance, or type of engagement. That responsibility includes articulating current and relevant rationales and examples, e.g., value propositions, projected returns, measurability of intangible assets’, their contributory role and value, and sources of revenue, etc.
To mitigate – alleviate operational ambiguity about intangible assets…and elevate receptivity to both clients and audiences, this strategist incorporates a ‘roadmap’ methodology to aid users to distinguish…
• what intangible assets are and what they are not.
• the various types, categories, and manifestations of intangible assets.
• where, how, when, and why IA’s originate, develop, mature.
• the various way intangible assets contribute to company-organization value as sources of value, revenue, and competitive advantage.
• strategies to assess and exploit intangible assets internally and externally (commercially) relative to their respective life, value, functionality, and materiality cycles’.
Still, it’s not infrequent to observe…the experienced and astute business leader – management team member exhibit reluctance-hesitancy to fully engage their company’s intangible assets, especially when ambiguities are present which frequently manifests as risk.
Go fast, go hard, go global, get to black…I have enjoyed many opportunities and privileges of initiating and/or becoming involved in conversations which I label as go fast, go hard, go global. Not surprisingly, in most of these conversations, terms associated with competitive advantage, efficiency, innovation, space, and creativity, etc., are routinely uttered. I am respectfully confident these, and other terms are substitutes, equivalents, or perhaps even proxies for intangible asset products and outputs, albeit unrecognized and unattributed at the time.
But, so long as the word ‘intangible’ is not consistently attached to – followed by the word ‘asset’, this (intangible asset) strategist-trainer-researcher-author is obliged to continually examine the manner-in-which he integrates – applies these words during business discourse and in writing.
Still, sometimes, I find astute, experienced, and successful practitioners inclined, at least initially, to minimize, or even dismiss intangible assets’ contributory role and value to their company, and rationalize doing so because intangible assets…
• are seldom, if ever, distinguished or reported on balance sheets or financial statements, so what’s the return for engaging them?
• through their ‘near term’ lens, intangible assets remain largely theoretical, and therefore not legitimately actionable to company operating agendas.
Such minimalism, of course, overlooks the economic – competitive reality that most organizations, whether they recognize it or not, routinely create, use, and ‘bank’ substantial amounts of intangible assets which manifest in various form, e.g., intellectual, relationship, structural, cultural, experiential, competitive, entrepreneurial, and reputation capital.
Absent, operational clarity and familiarity with intangible asset originated outputs, a municipal (public) utilities department, for example, may be inclined to characterize the services they deliver merely as quarterly, seasonal, or annual (line item types of) outputs, i.e., the number of streets repaired, sewer systems cleaned, tons of snow removed, etc.
To be sure, political expedience attaches to such recognizable quantifiers. Unfortunately, there is no mention of the intangibles that accompany each output delivered. Instead, when a public street zoned for single family homes, receives a ‘facelift’, i.e., perhaps a tree lined median, re-surfacing, turn lanes, new illumination, sidewalks, etc., these seemingly tangible aspects to the facelift will produce an array of ‘value adds’ which intangible asset savvy home owners favorably affected by the facelift can and should exploit early and immediately to their economic – competitive advantage benefit.
Michael D. Moberly July 20, 2017 firstname.lastname@example.org A business intangible asset blog where attention span really matters!