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!

Start-up – RBSU Success Dependent On Safeguarding Contributory Intangible Assets

January 21st, 2015. Published under 'Safeguarding Intangible Assets', Early stage companies.. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly     January 21, 2015    ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

For start-up management teams, the importance attached to launch their product or service cannot be overstated. It is important on many levels, one of which, it puts a new venture, on ‘the public stage’ and subject to all of the like – dislike variables which inevitably follow.

Should stake holder, prospective user, and investor reaction be favorable, launches can put a start-ups’ innovation a few steps closer to profitability, says Ans Heirman and Bart Clarysse formerly of Ghent University in their fine paper ‘Do Intangible Assets at Start-Up Matter for Innovation Speed?’

The speed which an innovation arrives at its launch stage is also important insofar as attracting initial rounds of investment. Another increasingly crucial factor that affects the speed which start-up innovations’ are positioned for launch is early recognition for safeguarding an innovations’ enabling and contributory intangible assets which in most instances are embedded in – underlie the innovation itself, i.e., intellectual, structural, and relationship capital or the proprietary know how and processes.

Unfortunately, I have observed many start-up management teams, be they RBSU’s or independent, imprudently directing their aspirations to seeking the issuance of a patent. Routinely, innovators rather naively assume ‘the patent route’, standing alone, will serve as sufficient safeguards for their innovation. And, most, if not every investor prefers, if not demands, an innovation be patented as a prelude to favorable investment consideration..

What innovators tend to discount or altogether overlook are equally valuable (enabling) intangible assets that routinely serve as the underlying foundation to every innovation. It’s now quite routine that 90+% of start-ups’ – innovations’ sources of value, revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, profitability, and sustainability to reside in – evolve directly from intangible assets.

Even though Heirman and Clarysse’ paper was published in 2004, it still carries much relevance insofar as making a convincing case that antecedents to innovation, i.e., speed emminates from recognizing, safeguarding, and managing key intangible assets, again particularly, the intellectual, relationship, and structural capital.

Heirman and Clarysse also make a very favorable case that other equally important intangible assets, which they refer to as ‘pre-founding R&D efforts’, e.g.,

  • innovation team tenure,
  • the experience level of the start-ups’ founders and management team members, and
  • third party collaborations, are also important contributors to innovation speed.  

To this perspective, Heirman and Clarysse collected a dataset on 99 research-based start-ups (RBSUs) and applied an event-history approach. From this they found that experienced entrepreneurs understand that innovation speed is important for many reasons, i.e.,

  • attracting – acquiring early investment to achieve more (greater) financial independence,
  • achieving broader external visibility and legitimacy for their innovation as quickly as possible, and
  • delineating the innovations’ competitive advantages as early as possible.

I agree with both Heirman and Clarysse that innovation R&D cycles can vary widely based on, among other things, the number and phases of product development, along with specialized technologies that may be required.  Being an intangible asset advocate and strategist no surprise here.

Collectively, this confers additional credence on the view that identifying inter-connected clusters of contributory intangible assets is important insofar as they may re-emerge at some point as enablers to another RBSU innovation. In other words, RBSU management teams should avoid dismissing or neglecting intangibles as if they are a single use asset. Too, it’s perfectly feasible that certain intangibles can be extracted from an already launched innovation to become independent sources of value and revenue.

Heirman and Clarysse also found that RBSUs frequently differ with respect to their starting conditions, for example…

  • start-ups which are further in their product development cycle (at founding) will likely launch their initial innovation (product) faster.
  • innovations that require a beta-version (test) will obviously experience slower product launch times.
  • experience level of startup founders and management team members can lead to faster launch times.
  • a start-ups’ alliance with other firms does not significantly or favorably affect innovation speed.
  • startups which collaborate with universities (perhaps as a spin-off, etc.) generally lead to longer innovation development and launch times.

As always reader comments are encouraged and welcome!

Islamic Intangible Asset and IP Law

January 19th, 2015. Published under Islamic IP, Uncategorized. No Comments.

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

It’s easy to find law firms with operational familiarity with G8 intellectual property laws, but, quite challenging to find firms’, particularly within the U.S., with IP practices that are attaching – sensing much urgency for acquiring a comparable level of (in-house) expertise with respect to Islamic (and Sharia) IP law. The underlying rationale for such initiatives lie in…

  • numerous geo-strategic and historical indicators that suggest that’s precisely what horizonal thinking-looking IP practices should be doing.
  • IP (and other forms of intangible asset) law inevitable requisites to enhancing – expanding IP practice space.
  • 80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, profitability, and sustainability globally lie in – directly emerge from intangible assets such as IP.

Collectively, these realities make it prudent for law firms’ to achieve business operational familiarity with non-western IP.

In other words, IP and other forms of intangible assets are now routinely – consistently in play, i.e., tactically and strategically integral to negotiation and outcomes of business development, operation, growth, profitability, sustainability, and most transactions.

Fortunately, there are a few academic papers that describe the foundational intricacies of Islamic IP and Sharia influence. A particularly useful paper which I frequently reference is authored by Silvia Beltrametti, titled ‘The Legality of Intellectual Property Rights Under Islamic Law’. religious

While I am confident Beltrametti paper was not intended as an instrument to sort out conventions of Islamic, western, and Asian IP (intangible asset) law for inevitable convergence, her work does provides countless definitions, explanations, and otherwise extraordinary useful insights,

Among other important aspects Dr. Beltrametti conveys is that Islamic IP rights are in their earliest stages of promulgation and/or regulation. A crucial question which I wonder is whether political turmoil and vitriolic rhetoric will subside at some point whereby the devout principles underlying Islamic (Sharia) law, particularly IP and other forms of intangible assets, can reach a point of intellectual, operational, and respectful convergence.

Some significant challenges are embedded in Sharia law’s primary sources; the Qur’an, the Sunna, Ijma and Qiya which are often applied synonymously with Islamic law as a whole.

Still, what I and I suspect many readers would agree, there are substantial challenges that will require time, trust, and commitment to resolve, assuming of course, there will, at some point be the political will, perhaps born out of mutual economic necessities, for the firmly embedded historical and spiritual perspectives to…

  • ameliorate the dominance of Western IP law
  • respectfully encompass Islamic perspectives of intellectual property rights, and
  • incorporate its interpretive flexibility and adaptability..

Conceivably, either could be respectfully applied to reflect global realities such as the economic fact that  80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, profitability,  competitiveness, and sustainability today reside in or emerge directly from intangible and IP-based assets.

As always readers comments are most welcome.

Intangible Assets and Counterfeit Apparel

January 13th, 2015. Published under Product counterfeiting., Reputation risk.. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly   January 13, 2015   ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

Here I contrast consumer’s expectation of sporting contest authenticity to growing consumer receptivity for purchasing counterfeit apparel and accessories. My views were inspired by a Frank DeFord commentary on National Public Radio and Dr. Dan Ariely’s book titled, ‘The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie To Everyone, Especially Ourselves’ whom I have spoken.

Mr. DeFord says most sports fans care about and expect player and contest authenticity. They want contests to be genuine battles’ of player and coach tactics, wit, skills, preparation, training, and physical and mental ability and stamina, i.e., the intangible assets embedded in our sports psyche.

Growing percentages of sporting event consumers do not consistently exhibit preference for authenticity with respect to seeking-purchasing counterfeit (sports) apparel, i.e., indifference.

Dr. Dan Ariely’s research (Duke University) describes social-psychological principles that influence consumer receptivity to buying apparel and associated accessories which they know to be counterfeit prior to purchase which he designed various (human) experiments that focus on the forces that are at work, i.e.,

  • external signaling – the way we broadcast to others who we are by what we wear.
  • self-signaling – despite what we tend to think, we don’t have a clear notion of who we are but, generally hold a privileged view of our preferences and character.

The inference being, when we knowingly purchase counterfeit apparel one may act differently than those who purchase authentic apparel. For example, one’s conventional moral constraints are likely to loosen when we knowingly purchase, accessorize, and wear counterfeit goods. Once those moral constraints loosen, Ariely suggests, we become more receptive to the ‘oh, what the hell’ effect with many consumer rationalizations. For me, this begs the question, which is more powerful – influential, the…

  • negative self-signaling emanating from wearing counterfeit apparel?, or
  • positive self-signaling that comes with wearing genuine – authentic apparel?

Ariely also points to the potency and value of external signaling which can be substantially diluted as more legitimate – authentic supply chains become variously polluted with counterfeits.

Based on my own experience, the value of external signaling, as an intangible asset becomes even more diminished and/or undermined as the ‘quality’ of counterfeit apparel elevates and becomes difficult for consumers to distinguish from authentic branded/manufactured products.

Again, self-signaling and external signaling are clear examples of intangible assets whose value is connected to consumer preference via the proprietary intellectual and structural capital and trademarked logos, etc., embedded in authentic (licensed) apparel.

Presumed consumer preference for authenticity is slowing evaporating, to the point that buyer concern whether apparel is counterfeit is becomes secondary to cost, an aspect which is particularly troublesome for me. Too, I see nothing on the horizon that suggest otherwise. The cause of course will be a reflection (consequence) of changes in consumer attitudes about external signaling and self-signaling.

Having devoted a significant percentage of my professional career to safeguarding intangible assets, the increasingly efficient global product counterfeiting industry has already ‘geared up’ to accommodate consumers whose inclinations are changing. Ultimately, apparel designers and manufacturers must recognize that the positive effects derived from external and self-signaling represent the ‘intangible asset glue’ that hold company value, revenue, reputation, and brand, etc., together!

As always, reader comments are welcome and respected, and please read and submit a review of Mike’s newest book ‘Safeguarding Intangible Assets’




Intangible Assets in Russian Companies

January 13th, 2015. Published under Managing intangible assets. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly   January 13, 2015    ‘A blog where attention span really matters”!

I had the pleasure to communicate/converse with Dr. Tatiana Garanina of St. Petersburg University recently to discuss her research titled ‘Value Creation in Russian Companies: The Role of Intangible Assets’.  What follows is a collaborative summary of that discussion.

Dr. Garnina’s research revealed that…

  • as much as one third of all investment solutions occurring in Russia are related to a company’s (existing) intangible assets.
  • business decisions-transactions allow management teams to make more accurate income and profitability projections including shareholder value.
  • management teams of leading (Russian) companies are more apt to acknowledge and understand that the key sources of their company’s value creation are irreversibly rooted in intangible assets.
  • Dr. Garnina distinguishes intangibles in Russian companies on the basis of their composition and structure which hrough her and co-researchers’ analysis of 43 (sampled) companies, intangibles were distinguished intangibles in five aggregated fields, i.e.,
  • mechanical engineering
  • extractive industry
  • power engineering
  • communication services, and
  • metallurgy.Drs. Garanina and her co-researcher Dr. Volkov also found that leading (Russian) companies are endeavoring manufacturing cost reductions, hence value creation, which translates as reductions in the value of their tangible/physical assets. Doing so advances another trend, which producing more intangible assets, i.e., intellectual, structural, and relationship capital, proprietary know-how and creativity.Some rovocative perspectives, offered by Drs. Garanina and Volkov offered are
  • Dr. Garanina astutely points out a key challenge for (Russian) management teams today creating conditions that will lead increasing the value of (their) intangible assets and therefore the value of their entire company, something which has global relevance far beyond the Russian border.
  • Admittedly, value creation through intangible assets represent a new component for business development in Russia but has yet to witness significant successes, particularly for companies still expressing reliance on conventional tangible (physical) assets. The leadership of these firms were less able to cope with the globally competitive markets.
  • related to the composition and structure of intangible assets, particularly intellectual capital. In many other research papers I have read, researchers describe the structure and/or composition of intangible assets and then try to define the primary component that (most) affects the assets’ ‘contributory’ value. Drs. Garanina and Volkov claim there is no known uniformity, i.e., means, mechanisms, etc., to address this aspect in Russian business as yet.
  • their views on (intangible asset) market capitalization value over periods of time. Even though, a number of theoretical works have stressed the strategic importance, as well as the role of intangibles as key value drivers for company’s competitiveness (Edvinsson, Malone, 1997; Sullivan, 2000; Wenner, LeBer, 1989); there remain, the authors believe, an absence of approaches to evaluate those mechanisms in terms of how intangible assets actual contributory value to a company. (Carlucci, Schiuma, 2007).

An obvious result, Garanina concludes is that more studies are needed in order to better understand…

  • the relationship between intangible assets,
  • the way these assets are clustered, and
  • their contributory role in value creation

As always, reader comments are welcome and respected, and please read and submit a review of Mike’s newest book ‘Safeguarding Intangible Assets’


Introspection, A Valuable Intangible Asset!

January 12th, 2015. Published under Managing intangible assets. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly    January 12, 2015     A blog where attention really span matters!

A managerial resolution for 2015…Should you still be looking for a 2015 resolution, try engaging in more ‘introspection’!

Peering inward…Introspection means taking time to recognize the prudence of, at least periodically, directing ones thoughts inward, that is, to think about our actions, reactions, and responsibilities and how they relate outside our respective circles of professional specializations.

Professionally, I am convinced the managerial responsibility to be introspective is a valuable and positive intangible asset!  That is, a leader or management team’s recognition that introspection is a necessary and quite valuable attribute to possess, and, in the context of this post, a positive, strategic, and personalized intangible asset!

Knowing what you know and what you don’t know…Introspection as characterized by James Drogan, business professor at SUNY’s Maritime College is…

“…knowing what you know, knowing what you don’t know, and knowing who knows what you don’t know and  knowing, when things are going really well, you’ve probably missed something”.

For some readers I suspect, the language Professor Drogan used to characterize introspection, may sound eerily reminiscent of former U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s response to a question posed to him during a Pentagon briefing regarding fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which to date, remains frequently characterized as being smug, arrogant, or perhaps somewhat dismissive, at the 30,000 foot altitude anyway, of the increasingly challenging events the U.S. military were experiencing in both countries.

Intangible value of introspection…On a more relevant note, Martin Christopher, Emeritus Professor of Marketing & Logistics at Cranfield’s School of Business (UK) and author of Logistics and Supply Chain Management, states that…

 “introspection is valuable, important, and perhaps even critical to successful business operations”.

I am wholly in agreement with Professor Drogan’s important characterization of introspection as well as the value which Professor Christopher attaches to introspection.

Introspection among colleagues, co-workers, superiors, and decision makers…It’s important to not go astray from my intended premise, which is, effective and consistent introspection by management teams and decision makers is a strategically valuable asset, albeit intangible, which most any organization and their management teams should aspire.

One example, during my 20+ years in academia is that I routinely observed students, both graduate and undergraduate, rapidly review and presumably assess written assignments in a manner similar to their approach to essay exam questions. In both circumstances, I sensed students had a felt need to speedily regurgitate all they assumed they knew about a topic, then leaving it to my interpretation, which I presume they hoped would track their intent.

I am confident many management teams and business decision makers have observed similar behaviors exhibited by colleagues. I am confident such habits, to be kind, have minimal introspective thought processes at work. Through my lens, introspection is absolutely necessary for effective, profitable, and sustainable business operation, particularly in today’s aggressively competitive, predatorial, and global business (transaction) environment.  So, introspection, should it become a respected attribute to a company’s overall management can also be a very positive and valuable intangible asset that favorably contributes to most any decision maker and/or managerial role.

Introspection is not self-doubt…Managerial introspection is not merely an exercise to confirm what one already believes to be true, rather introspection is a tool for self evaluation and review of pending activities or strategies. Introspection can be rooted in one’s desire to identify and assess a particular, usually strategic, path that provide a means to achieve an objective inner assurance, given the ever increasing array of potential variables, that a particular course of action is appropriate and that relevant obligations have been acknowledged.  In other words, introspection encompasses a strong sense of personal self-confidence which allows a manager – decision maker to be intellectually and operationally receptive to…

“knowing what you know, knowing what you don’t know, and knowing who knows what you don’t know and  knowing, when things are going really well you’ve probably missed something”

More specifically, Donald Clark raises other relevant issues about managerial introspection  in ‘After Action Review’, as he correlates introspection to learning…

“…what worked, what didn’t work, why it didn’t work,  what one needs to do about it to make it work and work better, and what one should do differently the next time’? 

Introspection is managerial self-confidence…I believe most management team members and business decision makers can practice introspection providing there is an environment in which self-confidence is appreciated and respected not confrontational arrogance  Unfortunately, I am short on examples of business leaders or managers who have successfully crossed the chasm of arrogance to introspection.

But, introspection is not solely about adding individual contributory value to their organization, rather, by extension, making a company more valuable, thus, an intangible asset positive!

What happens when managerial introspection is absent…When the elements of introspection are absent from a company’s routine strategic – tactical deliberative processes, i.e., ‘after action reports’. Through my lens, the absence of managerial – leadership introspection can be significant, particularly when it becomes a precursor for reputation risks to materialize.

Too, my experience suggests that in far too few instances do those in leadership roles recognize introspection to be an important skill set integral to personal, professional, and intellectual growth that will serve them and their company well.

Most readers are adept at projecting potential adverse outcomes for projects and transactions when leaders and managers lack of introspection.  The consequences can be severe, leading to the failure of a new business initiative, transaction, or an entire company.

It’s far from being a secret that people, as well as business managers and leaders possess an innate proclivity for gravitating and endeavoring to replicate tasks – behaviors which resonate as being…

  • relevant to a current challenge or problem, or they sense are
  • strategically necessary, i.e., personally, professionally, to achieve success.

But, through all of this, let us not overlook two things…

  • the economic fact that 80+% of  most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, profitability, and sustainability globally lie in or evolve directly from intangible assets, and
  • a manager or leaders’ desire and ability to be introspective is a respected and valuable intangible asset.

As always, reader comments are welcome!