Monetizing Intangible Assets Produced By Police Cultures’

May 5th, 2015. Published under Investing in intangible assets., Value Propositions. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly   May 4, 2015   ‘A blog where attention span really matters.!

I am confident an experienced business person who possesses an operational familiarity with intangible assets…could devise a viable and mutually receptive strategy to ‘monetize’ un-used, under-used, or ineffectively used IA’s (intangible assets) emanating from public service – policing cultures.

This suggestion is not a poorly disguised twist for continuing to utilize traffic citations as sustaining a revenue pipeline for municipalities…Instead, when it comes to policing and the variously nuanced operational cultures that quite naturally, yet invariably evolve, there remain a percentage whose mission statement and culture emanates from a conventional – time honored ‘protect and serve’ model or some variation. Unfortunately, the ugly realities of some police cultures have surfaced in Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore, and other cities over the past 9-12 months. Citizens have witnessed the rudderless ambiguity of such presumptive branding that is, at minimum we find to have become irreconcilably disconnected from its citizen consumers.

The ‘protect and serve’ models have their origins in another period of U.S. law enforcement reformation which commenced in the early 1970’s following the deeply rooted tensions embedded in urban areas throughout the U.S. which sparked hard and tragic lessons which it is certainly not rocket science to draw valid comparisons to what has been witnessed of late. To suggest otherwise is to ensure repetition is just another generation away.

The objective here is to not ‘naval gaze’ on the actions of a few, remove them and quickly, but translate the principled actions of the vast majority…into policing intangible assets that deliver – generate value to citizens and their communities and neighborhoods on many levels. In most instances the assets, intangible as they are, can be individually or collectively ‘monetized’ as internal pride and external responsibility – attractivity for infrastructure investments.

Let’s not delude ourselves that policing ‘brand’ which has been revealed in such public ways, particularly since August, 2014, will not be ‘re-branded’ easily or quickly. Citizens are far to realistic and savvy for that. Here, time and constructive and affirmative action and behaviors are the predicates to effective and meaningful (culture) re-branding.

Now please, bear with me while I explain what I mean by ‘monetizing’ police culture…yes, I am an advocate of genuinely exploring strategies for ‘monetizing’ communities’ IA’s produced by normative cultures, but, such initiatives have two key components, i.e., they require…

  • leadership and foresight to recognize the intangible economic – competitive advantage benefits that will accrue to communities that execute well defined and normative (public service and public safety) cultures, and
  • understanding about how to effectively exploit those assets for their value-add features, i.e., community-neighborhood reputation, goodwill, image, and existing and prospective user attractivity, etc.

Specifically, public safety departmental cultures can be legitimate and exploitable (IA) catalysts to illustrate a community – neighborhood record of consistently safe, receptive, inclusive, and an otherwise attractive locale worthy of investment(s) in business, education, property value, and the critical symbolism framed by ‘we care what happens’!

A starting point is recognizing that in most instances, an organization’s culture is a verb, not a noun…in other words culture development and maintenance requires action, leadership, and consistent monitoring in order for a normative (police) culture to materialize and become self- sustaining.

Public safety department cultures are nothing particularly new…they have existed for generations. In the present context however, once a culture of like-minded individuals (employees) band together for reasons other than professional camaraderie, problems and challenges are all but sure to follow!

For a myriad of reasons and rationales, some individuals are compelled to seek out and band together with other like-minded individuals for defense, mutual support, or to accommodate a felt or acquired personal need which in turn, may manifest into an accumulation of very personalized IA’s, i.e., reputation, image, perceptions, affiliations, intellect, capabilities, fears, etc. In these circumstances, a cultures’ rationale sometimes intensifies prejudice and xenophobic attitudes antagonistic toward particular groups of citizens, i.e., racial, ethnicity, etc.

Organizational cultures, and the sub-cultures either can spring are often intertwined collections of IA’s embedded in individual – group sociology and psychology…the product and presence of which may be the product of perception or direct observation, i.e., as sets of actions or inactions which either adhere to or disregard social norms, departmental policies, or the law.

Long before there is evidence that an organization’s culture has gone ‘off its rails’ by deviating from its core, police leadership have an obligation to take action to modify it, ensure its return to a true state, and then monitor it…which are, in essence, fiduciary duties – responsibilities for taking the necessary steps to re-direct that subcultures’ rationale and monitor it for assurance and compliance.

Of course, when a (sub-) culture of negativity becomes rooted in – receives its spirit from higher echelons of a departmental or city administration, the positive actions and interactions of an individual officers can seldom sufficient to favorably influence the whole or quickly reverse what individual ‘bad actors’ may have already done.

In those instances, my counsel to good officers is to resign yesterday and seek employment in departments with leaders who recognize the all important but often unrecognized IA’s officers bring and deliver to each shift.

Integral to any prescription for reclamation – reversal of an already adverse (police) culture, is recognizing…that police are routinely the quintessential first responders to community and neighborhood challenges, particularly where there has already been multi-generational neglect and dismissiveness which can cascade into adjacent areas. It’s reasonable to conclude then, adverse police cultures are often products of a generation of mutual disintegration of trust which spark persistent antagonism and tension.

Ironically, circumstances like this and become entrées and rationales for collaborative culture leadership…by putting in place (oversight, monitoring, and assessment) practices which respect a community’s socio-economic circumstances.

But, cultivating a normative organizational culture for policing and public safety…requires principled and thoughtful leadership, wisdom, time, and the intellectual curiosity to recognize factors that influence culture development and sustainability. There are ample (anecdotal) indicators that ‘good to great’ leaders are concerned about it, pay attention to it, endeavor to achieve it, and realize it’s important to monitor it. After all, there is no one-size-fits-all or snap-shot-in-time methodology to repair or develop a proper organizational culture that fully matures overnight.

Seldom can positive organizational cultures be wholly replicated elsewhere by a competitive organization…admittedly the term competitor may appear more relevant to private – for profit sectors rather than police – public safety departments

Through my lens however, the community wide competitive advantage deliverable by public sector (policing) entities particularly those serving urban, lower socio-economic communities and/or neighborhoods experiencing gentrification.

Again, as a long time intangible asset strategist and risk specialist, I am confident, city administrators would find it beneficial to explore how their public service and public safety cultures’ can materialize to produce valuable and sustainable competitive advantages.


Intangible Asset Valuation…thinking differently!

April 28th, 2015. Published under Intangible Asset Value. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly    April 28, 2015    ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

With a significant level of confidence, most conventional, snap-shots-in-time, and subjective prognostications gleaned from IA (intangible asset) valuations and/or audits, do not provide prospective buyers, sellers, investors, or M&A management teams with the necessary insight reflective of today’s business economic realities and due diligence obligations.

Considering it is an indisputable economic fact that 80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and by extension, favorable outcomes to business transactions are premised on a party’s ability to sustain control, use, ownership, and monitor (IA’s) value, materiality, and risk, each of which will inevitably be in play to impact a transaction’s outcome.

Business transaction valuation and due diligence should provide prospective buyers, sellers, investors, and M&A management teams with objective invest-don’t invest, buy-don’t buy clarity, e.g.

  • IA sustainability, attractivity, demand , and receptivity to convergence.
  • the frequency – intensity which the IA’s in play are targeted by – vulnerable to predatorial data mining, business-competitor intelligence, and economic espionage operations.
  • assets’ proprietary status, competitive advantage components, or trade secrecy status.

The business valuation community argues that expanding the scope of IA valuations and due diligence to include these components exceeds the canons, doctrine, and statutes to which accounting, financial services, and legal are variously obligated to follow, i.e., state and federal accounting rules and regulations which stipulate what, which, and how IA’s are to be valued and reported on balance sheets and financial statements.

In fairness, state and federal accounting rules and regulations stipulate methodologies for calculating the value of IA’s. In many instances, I sense such valuations are unnecessarily narrow and fall short, one way is that IA’s are differentiated largely on whether they have been externally acquired or internally developed, and then consolidated under the single category of goodwill.

I suspect continued adherence to such conventional IA reporting and accounting rules will serve to further stifle – suppress management team’s interest in – motivation to profitably and competitively engage their organization’s IA’s beyond the narrow time-bound confines of goodwill, and

  • explore the relevance of IA’s contributory value and functionality cycles, and IA’s
  • IA’s vulnerability to various risks which, once materialized, will adversely affect – undermine asset’s value, functionality, and competitive advantage life cycle.

Admittedly, as an independent intangible asset strategist and risk specialist I do not feel bound by the exacting and conventional state and federal accounting rules and regulations. This represents a creative sovereignty that permits me to engage in respectful outside-the-box strategizing and asset risk management on behalf of IA clients.

Valuing Intangible Assets By Distinguishing Their Contributory Value

April 27th, 2015. Published under Intangible Asset Value. No Comments.

Michael D.  Moberly    April 27, 2015   ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

Experience suggests that substantial percentage of IA (intangible asset) valuations conducted for organizations, irrespective of context, do not provide sufficient managerial (buyer, seller, investor) insight, if it does not…

  • fully capture (factor) an organization’s foundational IA’s, i.e., intellectual, structural, relationship, and creativity capital.

Given the increasingly significant role IA’s play in organizations, i.e., 80+% of most company’s value and sources of revenue, etc., lie in – emerge directly from IA’s, I encourage valuations unravel – distinguish organization’s IA’s relative to their individual or collaborative ‘contributory value’, e.g., to a particular project or initiative, a company’s overall mission or its competitive advantages, etc.

With due respect to the valuation community, absent determination and inclusion of assets’ contributory value, conventional (IA) valuations are insufficiently descriptive and too subjective insofar as…

  • inspiring management teams’ to seek-achieve operational familiarity with IA’s.
  • providing insights to IA’s functionality.
  • incorporating IA’s in an organization’s strategic planning.

I’m respectfully confident readers will correct me should I be wrong on this, but there are some five, perhaps more, methodologies for valuing IA’s. Each methodology is variously designed to be context – purpose specific. The product of conventional valuation methodologies frequently deliver only ‘range estimates’ of asset value absent the specificity advocated here.

For horizonal strategists, being provided with a subjective or range of IA valuation data, standing alone, seldom provides sufficient insight to make the most effective business decision. Ultimately, such incomplete IA portraits of organization value leave decision makers holding unnecessary risk and uncertainty with no clear paths for (risk) mitigation.

Are Creative’s Conformist’s?

April 24th, 2015. Published under Analysis and commentary, Design thinking.. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly    April 24, 2015   ‘A blog where attention span is important’!

Let’s digress.  For IP, the government or PTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) issues a certificate to the holder-owner that says ‘this is your patent, trademark, or copyright’.  Deservedly and proudly those certificates are frequently displayed in areas which the recipient deems sufficiently prominent as a testament to their creative diligence.

Perhaps most importantly however, the certificate itself positions the holder to utter an affirmative response to the proverbially incessant question ‘what’s your IP position’, implying IP is the preeminent requisite. In this admittedly narrow context, the tangible – physical features of the PTO certificate serves as a creative’s conforming starting point to receive a modicum of affirmation from the likes of television’s ‘shark tank’ panelists.

A notably remarkable aspect to the patent seeking – securing phenomena is that ‘creatives’, by their nature, are seldom considered to be conformists. In fact, a quite strong argument could be made that creatives’ seemingly innate penchant for non-conformity serves as very strong underliers to sustaining their personal diligence toward a specific (strategic) end.

But yet, for the creatives’ who are diligently engaged in an arena in which their work product falls into a potentially patentable field, routinely defer to presumed experienced practitioners of the ‘shark tank’ ilk who unabashedly premise – link their flirtatious counsel to whether one’s work product has received a patent. Today such unrequited deference warrants discussion, don’t you think?

Global Workforce Provocative Implications

February 25th, 2015. Published under Insider Threats, Systemic Risk. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly   February 25, 2015   ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

Provocative implications for safeguarding information assets…

What follows are findings of a study produced by DoD’s Personnel Security Research Center (PERSEREC). The findings of this study titled, ‘Technological, Social, and Economic Trends That Are Increasing U.S. Vulnerabiliy to Insider Espionage’ does retain some relevancy today as it did when it was initially published in May, 2005.

For some, the findings may be contentious, divisive, arrogant…

Admittedly, the study’s findings could be viewed as prognosticative and challenging a rationale for a globally diverse workforce. Having had substantive discussions with the study’s principle investigators, I sensed absolutely no suggestion to support either perspective.

The study produced these largely intangible indicators…

The Internet…

  1. expanded global marketplace for proprietary information assets.
  2. has become an efficient marketplace to bring sellers-seekers-buyers together to exchange information in relative anonymity
  3. elevates awareness about information asset value and recognition it can be sold for a profit.
  4. internationalized science and commerce and places employees in positions to foster – sustain global contacts some of whom interest lie in adversely exploiting such relationship.
  5. permits individuals to retain emotional, ethnic, and financial ties at will to other countries coupled with less inclination to seek U.S. citizenship

Fewer employees are deterred by conventional sense of loyalty…

  1. growing allegiance to a global community that integrates global – national values.
  2. less inclined to view espionage – theft of information assets to be morally wrong.
  3. may view such acts as being justifiable if they feel that sharing them will benefit the world community or prevent armed conflict.
  4. inclination of those engaged in multinational trade/transactions to regard unauthorized transfer of information assets-technology as a business matter rather than an act of betrayal.
  5. tendency to view human society as an evolving system of ethnically and ideologically diverse and interdependent individuals/groups which make illicit acts easier to rationalize.

These findings, in my judgment, prompt many additional questions about the entire spectrum of the ‘insider threat’.  For example, there remains a need to genuinely and objectively assess…

  1. Employee reactions to the elevated intensity and frequency which external entities are targeting (soliciting) their company and their knowledge!
  2. Employee propensity – proclivity to (a.) convey receptivity to external solicitors – buyers of a companies’ information assets, and/or (b.) independently seek prospective buyers.
  3. Also, if such proclivities – propensities exist, do they coincide with or become exacerbated by the conventional precursors – motivators (of insider theft), i.e., disgruntlement, unmet expectations, personal predispositions, financial stress, etc.

Ultimately, the challenges presented by these findings to U.S. companies will, in all likelihood require specialized familiarity and skill sets to effectively address.  This is especially critical given the economic – business reality that today, 80+% of most companies’ value, sources of revenue and ‘building blocks’ for profitability, growth, and sustainability lie in – emerge directly from intangible assets!

As always, reader comments are respected and welcome!

Frugal Innovation Perfect Environment for Intangible Asset Growth

February 23rd, 2015. Published under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly    February 23, 2015   ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

Frugal innovation is…Conceptually frugal innovation is a strategy for pursuing innovation in circumstances and environments in which there are few resources and few means, perhaps more so, but certainly not limited to emerging market countries.

Frugal innovation is widely characterized as representing circumstances where there is a managed convergence of stimulated and skilled intellectual, structural, and relationship capital with an inspiration to create innovation to respectfully benefit users – consumers residing at the lower end of a regions’ socio-economic pyramid, e.g., where affordability constraints are at work.

Frugal innovation objectives…The objectives of frugal innovation are as varied as needs warrant, for example, designing more near term business models or redesigning particular products and/or services to serve targeted beneficiaries in scalable, affordable, and sustainable manner.

Those engaged in frugal innovation typically identify in advance, needs, voids, resource constraints, and projected innovations’ relevance and attractivity with the intent to create more inclusive (broader) markets (Bhatti, 2011) to the intended-projected (targeted) users – beneficiaries.

Frugal innovation makes the most of what people control, their intangible assets…Frugal innovation is also often characterized as a ‘local phenomenon’ because entrepreneurs-innovators make the most of what they actually control, i.e., their intangible assets (know how, intellectual and structural capital). Even though frugal innovation is seldom characterized in this manner, it is routinely structured around developing products-services to solve particular problems at the most practical and sustainable levels. (Read full piece at ‘Business IP and Intangible Asset Blog’

In the west, it’s top down innovation…For a variety of reasons, the conventional ‘top down’ innovation born in the west, by design, at least initially, typically targets higher end consumers – users. Too, western innovation largely is committed to traditional, some characterize as archaic, business and distribution models-channels which are reliant on consistent abundance of non-sustainable resources, which frequently elevates product R&D and manufacturing costs.  Collectively, advocates of frugal innovation suggest this makes numerous (S&T) innovations unaffordable – out of reach to ‘just as needy’ individuals at the lower levels of countries’ socio-economic pyramid. Ideally, frugal innovation can be configured to find attractivity to successive higher levels of ‘pyramid’ users.

Frugal innovation purists…In actual practice, the purist frugal innovator is less apt to characterize the absence of regulatory oversight or resources in emerging market countries, as being insurmountable or necessarily momentum stifling hurdles, rather as leverage points to mitigate such necessities, as is incumbent in the West, for investment entry for R&D, etc.

Multiple dimensions to frugal innovation…There are multiple dimensions to frugal innovation which I believe many parties would be well advised to acquire familiarity.  For example, frugal innovation is not just limited to cost, manufacturing, or distribution issues.  Rather, a driving theme to frugal innovation which GE’s Jeffrey Immelt is known to apply, is that it is a ‘simplification in all aspects of process and outcomes’! (This post was inspired by the work ofYasser Bhatti, a Higher Education Commission doctoral scholar at the Said Business School, University of Oxford.)

 As always reader comments are respected and most welcome.

St. Louis, Reputation Risk Keeps On Giving!

February 18th, 2015. Published under Reputation risk., Systemic Risk. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly – February 19, 2015   ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

St. Louis’ reputation clearly at risk… Make no mistake, reputation is a company or cities’ most prized and valuable intangible asset, but it comes with risk. In the past six months alone, we have witnessed numerous examples of corporate and individual reputations’ plummeting due to systemic and (company) culture risks surfacing as well as prominent and/or celebrated individuals engaging in behaviors – actions that were not merely risky, but criminal.  In either circumstance, the outcomes are often similar, with either losing, sometimes irreversibly, revenue, goodwill, and image.

Now, with DoJ’s pending suit against the Ferguson Police Department, preceded by St. Louis native Michael Gerson’s skillful, but stinging characterization of St. Louis’ reputation on PBS’ NewsHour recently, this city’s reputation, once again, lies at the mercy of a global audience. The recent incident that unfurled on the parking lot of a Berkley gas station prompted Ms. Woodruff (co-managing editor of PBS’ NewsHour) to raise the relevant, but perhaps disparaging question to Mr. Gerson and Mr. Shields, ”what’s going on in St. Louis”?

Impending sightseeing tours… It should come as no surprise then, not unlike New Orleans’ lower 9th Ward, following Hurricane Katrina, that St. Louis sightseeing tours will likely, if they haven’t already, include, visits to the Shaw neighborhood, the communities of Ferguson and Berkley, and Clayton’s Justice Center each of which was the origin of countless hours of live video feeds globally. Do you, like I, wonder who will write the narrative for these sure to come ‘sight seeing’ tours?

Reputation nosedive, irreversible, permanent, or salvageable… To bestow absolutely no disrespect to any of the tragic events that have occurred, or the words that have been spoken, and the hurt that is now unforgettably embedded since mid-August, 2014, our city’s reputation has taken a decided nosedive.

Materialization of reputation risks like this are humanly, emotionally, and intellectually quick, with the economic and competitive advantage consequences moving at a somewhat slower pace insofar as being fully felt. But, perhaps the latter will be one motivator that brings committed people to the table.

Precisely how the adverse reputation St. Louis has acquired is subject to some qualification. That is, how citizens of St. Louis, outside observers, visitors, and prospective businesses wishing to expand or relocate in greater St. Louis are variously dependent on how they personally understand the origins and reasons that collectively contributed to this city’s current reputational state. Obviously, merely returning to its former state, absent viable, relatively quick, permanent, and sustainable change would be a devastating blow to reputation re-builds.

Reconciliation… Experience suggests the answers to these critical questions are inseparable from the emotional trauma following the death of loved ones to their families, friends, and supporters. Deeply rooted emotional wounds of this magnitude take time to reach some point of psychological and emotional reconciliation, should it ever occur. In 2015, I would not forecast that to commence absent viable, acceptable, and trustworthy options being on the table for near term financing, execution, and follow-through.

Make no mistake… But, make no mistake, the city of St. Louis, many of its citizens, and to be sure, its businesses, large and small, have and will continue to receive both subtle and direct questions about conducting business with firms in a city with a globally tarnished civil rights reputation. That includes businesses with prospects of locating in St. Louis. The latter of course is difficult to quantify, but let there be no doubt, such issues have already been on the agenda in numerous boardrooms and c-suites across America, as well they should!

Not in my backyard… All this leaves me genuinely puzzled by the opposition to Reverend Larry Rice’s downtown shelter for homeless and how this issue is being addressed by a coalition of downtown businesses. Admittedly, my familiarity with this issue is far from that of an insider. I did however, observe a Rice shelter opponent being interviewed locally who, quite naively, in my judgment, note Rice’ shelters’ coded capacity vs. actual occupancy was the reason why existing downtown businesses are leaving and prospective businesses are electing to situate elsewhere. Through my lens as mitigating reputation risk, I am quite confident opposition of this type can only exacerbate St. Louis’ endeavor to recoup its reputation. There are always suitable and viable options, providing of course, decision makers are genuinely willing to look for them.

As always, reader comments are respected and encouraged.

Reputational Risks For Entire Countries…?

February 9th, 2015. Published under Reputation risk.. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly   February 9, 2015   ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

I have written frequently about ‘reputation risk’ in my blog, primarily at the company/corporate level, i.e., what it is, contributing factors, how companies‘ shoot themselves in their foot’, the various ways it can adversely affect companies, how to monitor it, and strategies to try to mitigate – recover from it once it materializes.

But, admittedly, I had not given much thought to sovereign countries experiencing reputational risks other than what I would experience through the lens of my own travels or the generic ‘country reports’ produced by the U.S. State Department, Office of U.S. Trade Representative, and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Both New York Times columnist David Brooks and Syndicated Columnist, Mark Shields concurred on last Friday’s PBS NewsHour, which I respectfully paraphrase here, much attention this past week, as well it should, was riveted on revulsion to the immolation of the Jordanian pilot, something which Brooks believes the U.S. should avoid an overreaction, but nevertheless prompted many to examine the Obama administration’s strategy for dealing with terrorists, particularly IS.  These are acts of terror, they constitute taunts and provocations designed to make people feel afraid and helpless and they are insults to a sense of humanity. But, Brooks cautioned not to overreact because that gives IS power’.

The U.S. (administration) should remind itself, Brooks suggests, of its mission for democracy, absent that, doing what resources, prudence, and politics will allow to contribute to the Middle East becoming more receptive to pluralism and democracy is all the more challenging with any moral high ground being at risk. Then, it is no longer about morality, rather about barbarism, which IS appears to want to be in charge of, with the West responding, Brooks argues.

The U.S. does need to do what it can however, each option embedded with complexities and trade-offs beyond most imagination. But, the things the U.S. and other allied countries are doing now, Brooks believes, appear insufficient, but should include…

  • degrading IS, which it is occurring with the bombing campaigns in Iraq and a few towns in Syria which Brooks translates as IS will forever have a refuge for wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria.
  • the U.S. recognizing it should not involve itself in on-going battles’ over its status and its capabilities vs. their status and their capabilities, i.e., they kill one of us, the U.S. or the Jordanians will kill two of them. This constitutes a descent into barbarism.

Both Brooks and Shields hope that particular act will serve as recognition that will cannot be imported! In other words, the will to degrade and defeat IS must come from within.

But, if the U.S. becomes so offended by IS acts that it meld into a de facto ally of yesterdays’ adversary, that’s not a circumstance any country in the West should covet, but, as Brooks points out, when the U.S. appears to be switching between the two, that becomes a recipe for long-term reputational disaster!

As always, reader comments are respected and encouraged.

Global Business Risks, Their Changing State

January 29th, 2015. Published under Enterprise risk management.. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly    January 29, 2015   ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

World Economic Forum reports, out of necessity, are generally framed in neutral 30,000 foot altitude contexts.  More specifically, the 2015 WEF Risk Report projects ten risk challenges which are likely to materialize in the coming decade. For me, I would be hesitant to catalog those projections as constituting ‘rocket science’.   What is a form of ‘rocket science’ however, is designing and executing viable strategies to, at minimum, mitigate those risks to merge the chasm of pleasing stake/share holders and companies becoming stagnatingly risk averse.

Among the contributors to – framers of the 2015 Risk Report, I suspect consensus was rather easily achieved. There are some important distinctions however that warrant pointing out, which are, through my lens anyway, significant business risks can manifest much more rapidly today, often ‘overnight’, and there are few examples such risks dissipate, even remotely, with equal rapidity. Instead, they persist, fester, and frequently exacerbate in their complexity and volatility, resembling reputation risks.

Should this be a reasonably correct perspective, it leaves me with the notion that, for greater numbers of global business risks, prevention and/or resolution are rapidly becoming increasingly illogical options, instead, temporary (risk) mitigation is the best most can hope for and can viably achieve.

As a strategic aid to unravel this phenomena further, it certainly would have been useful had the WEF directly addressed their projected business risks in light of the economic fact that today, 80+% of most company’s value and primary sources of revenue globally speaking, lie in – evolve directly from intangible assets!

Economic – Cyber Espionage, It’s The Intangible Assets Adversaries Are After!

January 22nd, 2015. Published under 'Safeguarding Intangible Assets', Economic Espionage. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly   January 22, 2015   ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

 What economic – competitive adversaries are really targeting…

Having been actively engaged in the intangible asset arena since the early 1990’s as an intangible asset strategist and risk specialist, I am continually hard pressed to understand why the administration, cabinet secretaries, government agency heads, corporate c-suites, and repetitive pundits consistently portray the target(s) of global economic (cyber) espionage as intellectual property, i.e., patents particularly.

My suspicions are that by continually portraying private sector information asset losses in IP-only contexts more attention is drawn to the issue and using IP-laced language to describe the threat and loss presumes ‘the audience’ would find it challenging to understand the intricacies and distinctions of stolen or misappropriated intangible assets, i.e., intellectual, structural, and relationship capital.

 It’s the intangible assets…The persistent initiatives of global economic and competitive advantage adversaries is targeting company’s intangible assets, particularly proprietary know how in the form of intellectual and structural capital that affords adversaries economic and often defense competitive advantages.

These assets are precisely what adversaries’ need, want, and therefore will aggressively and stealthily pursue because, because it is the quickest route to global competitiveness, sector dominance, and profitability while diminishing the reputation of the target (loser).

80+% global economic fact…There is no other time in business governance – management history when steadily rising percentages (80+%) of most company’s value, sources of revenue lie in – emerge almost exclusively, from intangible assets, e.g., intellectual, structural, and relationship capital, reputation, brand, R&D, contracts, and hybrid (proprietary) technologies, etc.

 Issued patents do provide legal standing, but little or no deterrence…Issued IP provides holders with (legal) standing to bring criminal and/or civil action against today’s inevitable infringement. But, patent holders should avoid assuming its’ issuance provides much deterrence because potential economic, competitive advantage, and reputational gains are too probable and lucrative to pass up. So, any notion that the proprietary know how underlying – embedded in patents is magically safeguarded, through conventional IP deterrent affects is, truth be told, substantially more myth than reality.

Assumptions to the contrary represent, in my view, wishful, naïve, and out-of-date thinking.

Think about it…Why would an economic – competitive advantage adversary, data mining operation, information broker, or competitor intelligence firm engage in the presumed risk of acquiring (stealing) a U.S. patent when essentially the same information will be published and available online through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?

Admittedly, pursuing the ‘patent route’ is often a business decision (WTO requisite) reflective of today’s globally aggressive, predatorial, winner-take-all, and go fast, go hard, go global business (transaction) environment.

Ultimately, those charged with safeguarding valuable proprietary information of a company or client would be respectfully encouraged to ask, how and which knowledge-based intangible assets originating with a company warrant higher levels and more sophisticated safeguards and resilience planning? The answer, that’s where practitioners are obliged to devote their resources and time!