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Intangible Asset Side of Business Habituation Can Be An Impediment

February 13th, 2017. Published under Fiduciary Responsibility, Intangible asset training for management teams., Managing intangible assets, Uncategorized. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly February 13, 2017 A business blog about intangible assets where attention span really matters!

Business acumen acquired from – retained through personal experience permits most of us to ‘encode’ repetitive activities and processes (we engage in) as habits, which, in turn, allows us to free up ‘brain space’ to learn new things. This encoding process is referred to as habituation.

Habituation however, may not always translate – manifest as (business) improvements, new practices, or creating much needed efficiencies. Instead, in its extreme, ‘habituation’ that manifests as unquestioned adherence – attachment to perpetuating past practice and/or convention, without considering some may be variously obsolete, nearing irrelevance, or wholly uncompetitive, can, quite literally, push economic realities, ala IA’s, off ‘the proverbial table’ and strategic planning radar screens to be obstructions to business competitiveness, sustainability, and viable paths to creating value and (new, additional) sources of revenue.

When one recognizes how to differentiate habitual (sometimes trivial) details from those which are genuinely relevant, competitive, and value-revenue creating, ala IA-related, vs. merely continuing to approach-execute certain practices and/or processes because ‘we have always done it this way’ (with no intent-desire to change) is habituation, perhaps in its most extreme form.

There are many good and relevant reasons why we (our brains, personalities) are receptive to habituation. One is, if habituation were absent, proponents would argue we would likely be destined to consistently taking notice of and acting on relatively inconsequential minutia – details of work. Doing so would likely impede, if not limit our work effectiveness and efficiency. That’s because, presumably it would leave little time or inclination to notice or learn new things, i.e., change that could favorably affect the way we approach, engage, execute (our) work-job.

A relevant, all-be-it comedic example of this is (comedian) Jerry Seinfeld’s career which his followers recognize has largely been built on making light of the supercilious minutia of life behaviors and processes which most of us accept and comply with as mere unquestioned realities, i.e., this is the way someone decided it should be done, and it may never rise to a level that prompts us to question why!

Yes, it’s a generalization, but, many successful business persons, are often ‘wired’ to not just notice changes in habits, life expectations, and tolerance, and re-cast them in question contexts, i.e., ‘what could be’? For example, ask, what product-service could be developed, reconfigured, modified, etc., to ‘scratch an itch’ affecting significant and diverse percentages of populations, how much will it cost to produce and market, how quickly can it be brought to market, and what are the risks of doing so, and, if so, what, when, where, and how will they materialize?

These, so-called ‘wired’ individuals, often go multiple steps insofar as anticipating, seeking, embracing, and internalizing change, and how to translate same to develop, monetize, and commercialize discoveries, technologies, and products, embedded with IA’s, often, long before it materializes in a Jerry Seinfeld comedy sketch. Wired individuals are inclined to recognize-distinguish ‘benefits and beneficiaries’ in futuristic contexts vs. recognizing its existence and affects after the fact.

In one sense, this-is-why I frequently characterize my work, as strangely as this may appear to some, as consistently viewing business-company operability through an intangible asset lens. More specifically, during engagements, I respectfully examine actions and perspectives conveyed by business leadership and company management teams in the context of how, why, where, when, and circumstances in which (their) IA’s are used – leveraged (or, not) and how either impacts or contributes to a specific outcome favorably or unfavorably.

It’s not particularly challenging, I find, for business pundits to equate (critique) a company’s missteps or miscues subjectively as missed opportunities. On the other hand, it’s substantially more challenging to correctly define and collaboratively resolve challenges – risks related to business value, sources of revenue, competitive advantages, and reputation that originate – are embedded in non-physical (intangible) assets, which, irrespective of their contributory value, are seldom, if ever, mentioned.

So, when I am engaged with-by clients and companies about their IA’s, i.e., to facilitate-enable lucrative and competitive treatments-applications, I recognize, respectfully so, there have likely been multiple and various circumstances arise previously that singularly or collectively elevated awareness and importance of particular-IA’s. When this occurs, it allows those experiencing – achieving IA operational familiarity, substantially and operationally, better positioned to recognize-examine their IA circumstances to determine if such preludes were and remain present, i.e., determine-assess if, when, where, and how IA’s are being acknowledged and utilized effectively, lucratively, and competitively.

Why am I addressing this? It’s because forward looking-thinking business leaders and management teams are becoming more adept at recognizing – distinguishing processes, initiatives, risk, transactions, and challenges, etc., through IA lens, all-be-it often filtered through conventional sense of (tangible asset) physicality. In the pre-knowledge worker era, obviously previous-to recognizing IA’s contributory role and value to businesses and companies, it was largely assumed that innovation, transaction success, mitigating risks, and/or resolving challenges could be accomplished by simpler (physical) techniques, e.g., deciding which knobs needed adjusting, which screws needed tightening, or which moving parts needed lubrication, etc. In other words, physical methodologies were routinely attached to both the execution and resolution side.

Today, however, it’s a globally universal economic fact that 80+% of most company’s value (sources of revenue, competitive advantage, etc.) lie in – evolve directly from IA’s. A logical extension of this economic fact is that the value and/or pricing of a transaction is reflected in the IA’s in play. This has relevance on several levels, perhaps the most significant is the necessity for business leadership – management teams to recognize the intangible (invisible – non-physical) elements in value, competitiveness, and sustainability, etc., and address them accordingly. (The above was substantially modified by Michael D. Moberly from Tony Fadel’s, March 2015, TEDTalk titled ‘The first secret of design, is noticing’.)

Political Convention Intangibles

July 19th, 2016. Published under Intangible asset focused company culture., Intangibles as strategic assets, Uncategorized. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly July 19, 2016 ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

At what point do well orchestrated and choreographed vignettes at national political conventions manifest as assurances of voter perceptions?

Both political conventions, Republican this week, Democrat the following week, will, through focused grouped and timely social engineering techniques seek to deliver attractive intangible caricatures of their respective party’s presidential candidate.

It is fascinating to observe another national political convention dominated by technically enhanced-choreographed visuals and adulterated words that collectively, could correctly be characterized as an enormous 4-day long intangible. Whereby, a national political conventions’ primary objective is to affirm candidates’ presumptive (so-called) brand, image, persona, and bona fides for office. And, execute it in such a way to implant appealing perceptions (intangibles) intended to attract undecideds, appeal to opponents’ supporters, and perhaps, bring clarity to candidates’ positions on matters they and their advisors deem are of import to the American people, all-the-while endeavoring to further distinguish themselves from their opponent.

If this sounds eerily like an infinitely looped version of a ‘super bowl’ halftime commercial, you may be right.

In politics, intangibles can be personal achievements, character, and oratory, etc., that translate as understandable and distinguishable assets which candidates and/or PAC’s can exploit at will, ala affixing (licensing) the name ‘Trump’ as an intangible to the very tangible steak, wine, golf resort, hotel, or building.

Vietnam War Combat Crossing Intangible Chasm

March 29th, 2016. Published under Uncategorized, Vietnam War Combat Veterans. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly March 29, 2016 ‘A blog where attention span really matters’.

In June, 1969, during the 15+ hour flight from the Fort Lewis, Washington to Vietnam in the relative comfort of a Braniff 707, one of several commercial air carriers contracted to shuttle troops to – from Vietnam. During the flight, any trepidations about war and my soon-to-be role as a combat infantry soldier with the 173d Airborne Brigade were variously suppressed – masked. There were soldiers on the aircraft who characterized their presence as a ‘return trip’, i.e., their second or third tours in Vietnam. Many told ‘war stories’ for the first tour replacements who cared to listen. At this point, I would not have known, nor did I have any reason to suspect some of thos stories may have been embellished somewhat to fit their audience of replacements.

Surveying other soldiers (fellow passengers) within my limited view, left me with the impression that few were wholly immune – impervious to the onset of a reflective cocktail of thoughts, memories, and ‘wish I had’s’ about what the future may have in store for them. While I saw no conventional evidence, i.e., hands clasped, heads bowed, or mouthing words in silence, etc., I presume there may have been a fair amount of praying occurring periodically throughout the flight.

For those fortunate enough to win the ‘window seat’ lottery on the plane ride to Vietnam there was ample time to observe the blue sky, the blue hue of the Pacific Ocean, the occasional cargo ship or island below, other aircraft, and experience 13+ time zone changes. Throughout the flight, one’s sense of direction was muted, aside from knowing the plane in which we were all passengers and hopefully held return tickets valid 365 days hence, would eventually be landing in Vietnam which we knew was west of our starting point.

When the aircraft finally lands at Cam Ran Bay, Vietnam, each soldier is rapidly engaged in the in-county replacement processing pipeline…usually culminating two days later, with arrival at one’s assigned unit, in my case, 1st platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade based in the Central Highlands where I was greeted with the unforgettable disdain as the ‘f…ing new guy’. The greeting evolved, I felt at the time, from probably deserved bravado, laced with unsympathetic and unforgiving ‘one liners’ about what lie ahead. At that moment in time, as a replacement, I felt truly differentiated from all other creatures on earth.

The opportunities a replacement can avail themselves insofar as commencing crossing the unpitying and unforgiving chasm from civility to recognition as a responsible, dependable, and contributing soldier to his combat unit can vary. Of course there are numerous variables, most of which come wrapped in their own intellectual, emotional, and physical endurance, functionality, and resiliency.

Of course there are acts and/or behaviors, should a replacement be attuned to recognizing them as unwritten and equivalent to a small culture’s expectations which have been established by the experienced ‘elders’ of a combat unit’s, irrespective of rank. For the astute replacement crossing the chasm may occur relatively rapidly whereas for the less astute replacement the ‘chasm’ can be unrelenting and take much longer, if it occurs at all.

Arrival at one’s combat unit the realization there are no opt outs, becomes operative, save for the obvious. This will become one of the most challenging ordeals one may ever encounter, that is, the enormity of responsibility to themselves and others and the anxiety that comes with it. Specifically, if mistakes or errors in judgment are made, particularly those with variously – potentially irreversible outcomes as judged through the myopic lens by other combat soldiers in the unit. Compounding circumstances-incidents like this, significant errors – lapses could shadow a combat soldier indefinitely in their combat unit unless – until relevant amends occurred.

Another distinctly combat related perspective that evolved very rapidly for some was the seeming randomness of combat outcomes, many of which were variously and wholly outside one’s sphere of control and/or ability to favorably influence. Usually, unless-until a combat soldier recognized the absolute necessity for sustained periods of complete sensory (mental, emotional, and physical) functionality, i.e., possess reaction transition time frames in the nanosecond realm and being fully acclimated to the suddenness and randomness which combat frequently occurred.

(Mr. Moberly is an intangible asset strategist and risk specialist and author of ‘Safeguarding Intangible Assets’ published by Elsevier in 2014, m.moberly@kpstrat.com View Mr. Moberly’s videos on YouTube at ‘Safeguarding Intangible Assets’. This post represents some of Mr. Moberly’s writing about his experiences in Vietnam as a combat soldier assigned to the 173d Airborne Brigade in 1969.)

Preparing For Combat…The Intangibles

March 9th, 2016. Published under Uncategorized, Vietnam War Combat Veterans. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly March 9, 2016 ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

For the relatively small percentage of U.S. male citizens who entered military service…between 1965-1971, i.e., ‘baby boomers’, those who were assigned to – received infantry training assumed it was foreordained they would be serving in Vietnam in some combat role. Not surprisingly, almost all did so with little or no personal or direct experience with the emotional – intellectual differentials of actual combat and the wars’ theater, i.e., its people, history, culture, climate, and terrain, etc.

And, as in most wars and combat operations, but perhaps the Vietnam War particularly, preparing combat soldiers for entering the fatiguing environs of what is essentially a two-season climate, i.e., hot-dry – rainy-humid while being emotionally and physically prepared to engage or be engaged by adversaries who, in most instances were undistinguishable, but never-the-less willing and eager to harm – kill American soldiers. And, as in many instances, perhaps particularly combat, all the preparatory training completed and personal confidence one may have acquired as an outcome, for some, little may actually internalize or translate, unless – until they actually become fully emerged – engaged in all its realities and ultimately called upon to perform rapidly and effectively.

Perhaps necessarily so, infantry soldier preparatory training…as we knew it then, (1965-1973) was very structured. It encompassed some ‘things’ which many were hard pressed, at the time to find relevance, while other training involved mock-up (faux) exposures to combat like circumstances which largely focused on avoiding, mitigating, and surviving what the training regimen and military instructors characterized as variants of vulnerabilities and risks associated with combat in Vietnam, To be sure, the training was sporadically interspersed with, presumably embellished, anecdotes, e.g., the stealth, tactics, and ‘larger-than-life’ battle performance of the soon to be adversaries, which, at the time, were quite bewildering and disconcerting
In the Vietnam War…not unlike other wars – combat circumstances I presume, following one’s first visual of and/or contact with adversaries in combat, death, or the experience associated with incoming and/or returning weapons fire (intangibles), for a significant percentage, manifested as life – emotion – thought altering experiences (intangibles), usually with some level of conscious – sub-conscious permanency. For some combat veterans, such circumstances have been emotionally destabilizing, particularly if re-visited or conscious efforts made to psychologically reconcile observations and/or actions.

I have observed many infantry trainees, perhaps I should include myself, who, at 18 years of age, had yet to fully grasp, variously due to maturation and an abundance of self-confidence (intangibles) that, following the mandated 9 weeks of (infantry specific) training one would presumably possess the ability to physically and emotionally transition rapidly (intangibles) to activities that were utterly counter to their ‘life normalities’ prior to arriving in Vietnam, i.e., the inhospitable environs and extraordinary and largely unforgiving challenges associated with war and combat.

And, upon arrival as a f….ing new guy in a (Vietnam) combat unit, suddenly there was an absence of ‘life normalities’ aside from what one was willing – able to stow in their ruck sack. Adding to this wonderment, which evidence remains ample, is that, for a significant percentage of replacements, had, just days before, been their first ever ‘plane ride’ all-be-it a 15-hour duration air shuttle service from east-west coast bases in the U.S. to Vietnam. It is during that plane ride that one’s thoughts – feelings (intangibles) about the onset of and coping with their new realities often began to manifest.

Mr. Moberly is an intangible asset strategist and risk specialist and author of ‘Safeguarding Intangible Assets’ published by Elsevier in 2014, m.moberly@kpstrat.com View Mr. Moberly’s videos on YouTube at ‘Safeguarding Intangible Assets’. This post represents some of Mr. Moberly’s writing about his experiences in Vietnam as a combat soldier assigned to the 173d Airborne Brigade in 1969.

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’ http://kpstrat.com/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.

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.

Reputation Risk Mitigation Emerging As A Security Specialization

October 17th, 2014. Published under Reputation risk., Uncategorized. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly    October 17. 2014    ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

Business reputation risk emerging as a specialized security discipline…

Mitigating business reputation risk is evolving into a specialized discipline and presumably one that will eventually produce some obligatory (dedicated) education and certification not unlike what is already associated with other disciplines with standalone specializations. For example, in the security and asset protection field, the American Society for Industrial Security International has differentiated its membership interests and expertise through 29 Councils, each reflecting a particular facet of security, loss prevention, and asset protection to the private, public, and government sectors.

With respect to mitigating company reputation risk, I suspect, in the not too distant future, ASIS International will recognize the relevance and distinctive contributions made by reputation risk specialists and accordingly adopt another Council.

Public relations argue reputation risk rooted there…

There are countless public relations firms and solo PR practitioners who characterize mitigation and management of reputation risk as having roots in their profession and thus should be and frequently tweak there services accordingly to convey their profession as the presumptive lead, insofar as being the logical first choice resource and service which companies experiencing materialized reputation risks should turn to for mounting a response, and monitoring, mitigating, and managing such risks.

Rising percentages of security practitioners engaged in reputation risk issues…

Interesting, in as much as I am an intangible asset strategist and risk specialist, I find, anecdotally, admissions of rising percentages of security, loss prevention, and asset protection practitioners time being devoted to addressing risks related to a companies’ intangible assets which reputation, brand, image and goodwill are certainly integral components.

A recent example of security’s rising interest in and obvious mandate to learn more and engage company reputation risk was evidenced by the first full presentation devoted exclusively to reputation risk being accepted for delivery at ASIS Internationals’ 2014 (September 28 – October 1) Annual Seminar & Exhibits. The speakers for this presentation were myself, Dr. Nir Kossovsky, and Kevin Peterson with the session attracting 100+ attendees.

Security professionals are frequently horizontal lookers and thinkers…

Often, I find security, loss prevention, and asset protection practitioners possess a distinguishing attribute, that being horizonal looking and thinking. In other words, they are inclined to foresee and devise on strategies to deter, mitigate, if not prevent, new and anticipated risks and threats before they materialize and adversely affect their employer or clients’ assets. More specifically, security professionals are acquiring a stronger appreciation for the economic fact that 80+% of most companies value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, profitability, and sustainability lie in – evolve directly from intangible assets, which again, company reputation is one!

Another favorable product to security’s elevated operational familiarity with intangible assets sector – discipline specific experience with intangibles is that their ‘horizontal attributes’ render them both inclined and able to identify and unravel niches of overlooked – unmet business risks, and challenges which warrant resolution, ala risk to a company’s reputation.

Too, security administrators are well positioned to draw attention to such unrecognized or dismissed risks by characterizing them in probable, costly, and often irrevocable impact contexts.

As always, reader comments are most welcome!

Invention Commercialization Critical Questions Affecting Outcome

April 12th, 2014. Published under Intangible Asset Value, Intangibles as strategic assets, Managing intangible assets, Uncategorized. No Comments.

Michael D. Moberly    April 12, 2014   ‘A long form blog where attention span really matters’.

Often, the unrecognized and under-valued intellectual and structural capital initiators to intellectual property rich corporate – university R&D collaborations are the  numerous intangible asset underliers, i.e., intellectual and structural capital which inevitably play a significant role in an invention and/or technology transfer initiatives, in general.

But, when the stewardship, oversight, and management of an invention’s (IP’s) contributing – supporting intangible assets are neither acknowledged nor safeguarded, at the outset, those asset’s value, competitive advantages, value, and sources of revenue which they may have the potential for producing for their holder can quickly be undermined, substantially diminished, or even ’go to zero’!

To avoid or substantially mitigate the vulnerability, probability, and criticality which such asset risks will materialize, I find a quick, but effective, project-wide (self-) assessment is useful.  The assessment consists of eight managerially focused questions with each designed to respectfully influence R&D project leaders, inventors, researchers, and technology transfer – commercialization teams to genuinely reflect on how, whether, and to what degree the key – relevant intangible asset initiators have, thus far, been managed, utilized, and safeguarded.

Admittedly, a rather transparent agenda to this assessment is elevating (managerial) awareness and operational familiarity with the economic fact that 80+% of most invention’s, and eventually startup and/or spin-off company’s value, projected sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for successful (asset) commercialization evolve directly from the initiating – supporting (underlying) intangible assets, not IP per se.

An unfortunate, but persistent reality (risk) is that intangible assets can quickly become mired in costly, time consuming, and momentum stifling challenges and disputes or become subject to misappropriation or infringement if left unacknowledged, or negligently meld into the public domain – open sources.  As suggested, when either occurs, the asset commercialization potential (of these intangible assets, including the IP itself) can be irreversibly lost or, at minimum, severely obstructed in their contributory role.

The assessment…

I routinely find clients can complete this assessment in 7-10 minutes.  Readers are encouraged to not infer the speed in which the assessment can be completed and its brevity, i.e., seven questions minimizes its significance and benefits.  In framing this (self-) assessment I recognize that more comprehensive assessments do not necessarily produce – influence superior or more genuine (personal) reflection that translates to action and more profitable outcomes, particularly with respect to the oversight, management, and status of the key (most critical and contributing) intangible assets.  Too, I am respectfully, and humbly confident the assessment itself, as well as each of the nine questions can echo throughout an enterprise to the point they become routine discussion and action items in conference rooms, board rooms, technology transfer offices, and particularly amongst the scientists, researchers, and inventors who stand to benefit from effective and consistent stewardship, oversight, and management of the research they initiated.

Seven critical questions affecting invention commercialization outcomes…

As corporate – university R&D project management teams engage the assessment questions below they are encouraged to recognize that intangible assets, primarily in the form of intellectual and structural capital are not always specific to a single invention.  Instead, they may ultimately become initiators – underliers to other projects as well as being integral to most every stage of the instant invention process, i.e., at the (a.) idea formation stage, (b.) invention and product development stage, and (c.) commercialization (technology transfer) stage.

Assessment questions…

  1. Are intangible assets consistent discussion (action) items in management team meetings?
  2. Can research project management teams and the relevant inventors distinguish – or find consensus about the specific intangible asset(s), i.e., intellectual, structural capital, emanating from the initial research, and now have measurable contributory value to the product being proposed for commercialization to create sources of revenue, competitive      advantages, reputation, market space, etc.?
  3. Are project managers – management teams maintaining an inventory (audit) of the contributing (underlying, supporting) intangible assets that emanate from and/or drive the invention/commercialization process?  If so, are those processes being regularly re-assessed, updated?
  4. Do the inventory-audit updates specifically include an assessment of how, whether, or which intangible assets sustain value, materiality,  relevance, and mitigate risks to the invention itself, the  commercialization process, and the inevitable spin-off – startup company’s core mission and strategic planning?
  5. Have invention commercialization project managers identified which (contributing) intangible assets hold the highest probability for investor attractivity, value, and sustainability, price points, fees, royalties, etc., if they were sold, licensed, or used in a strategic alliance and/or joint venture?
  6. Have invention commercialization project managers and inventors identified which invention relevant intangible assets, particularly      intellectual and structural capital are most vulnerable to risk, e.g., pre and post commercialization, technology transfer, and business transaction to infringement, misappropriation, premature leakage, counterfeiting,  etc.?
  7. Have invention commercialization project managers implemented an organizational resilience (continuity – contingency) plan that specifically includes (a.) contributory intangible asset risk/threat mitigation, and (b.) rapid recovery from the adverse impact of materialized risk(s)?

In sum, are there processes – procedures in place, with respect to the invention commercialization process to…

  • ensure mission critical (intangible) assets hold (their) value, deliver revenue, or remains relevant to the spin-off company’s core mission and strategic plan, and
  • remain aligned with the development and/or acquisition of additional intangible assets necessary to achieve the inevitable spin-off company’s core mission, and strategic (market) planning?
  • identify who is responsible and how will such responsibilities will be executed regarding the on-going management, monitoring and measurement of intangible asset performance relative to sustaining – enhancing company value, sources of revenue, competitive advantages, reputation, etc.

Reader comments and inquires are always welcome at 314-440-3593 (St. Louis) or m.moberly@kpstrat.com 

 

Managerial Arrogance Intangible Asset Negative…

December 17th, 2013. Published under Design thinking., Intangible asset training for management teams., Uncategorized. No Comments.

 Michael D. Moberly    December 17, 2013    ‘A blog where attention span matters’!

Arrogance is a ‘negative’ intangible asset’!  For many, that statement is certainly not ‘rocket science’, and obviously it conveys I am no fan of arrogance regardless where, how, or why it manifests in a company, organization, and among its leaders and management teams members. 

Arrogance however, is not a characteristic that resides solely with the higher echelons, that is, in some instances, it can be quite company culture pervasive and exists at most every employee level.

Through my not-so-inexperienced lens, I, probably like many readers of this blog, see managerial centered arrogance as being destructive and unconstructive to a company’s bottom line, that is, this negative intangible asset can manifest itself adversely in any company through expressions of its intellectual, structural, and relationship capital.

In my research for this post, I found an interesting piece, published in a December, 2010 issue of Business Week, titled “Twelve Signs Arrogance Is Running Your Company”.  I have taken the liberty of adapting and re-prioritizing the piece…

  • through my lens as an intangible asset strategist and risk specialists.
  • as being emblematic of what I, and numerous colleagues routinely experience when articulating the relevance, contributory value to company management teams of the business necessity to utilize and exploit intangible assets.

From the above cited article, the following represent ‘signs that arrogance is actually running a company’, that is, when

  1. innovative ideas, coming from outside the company, are deemed to hold little, if any value, and thus, are seldom given consideration, assuming the company holds a monopoly on all great ideas, thus the ‘not invented here’ attitude is a prominent and permanent fixture throughout the company’s conference and board rooms.
  2. it rationalizes mistakes and miscues instead of learning from them.
  3. it puts forth little or no effort to become a genuine partner to a merger, but instead, has designs of dominance, thereby losing the value of the culture and intellectual and structural capital (intangible assets) the other company possessed and would have otherwise delivered.
  4. management team members are observed patting themselves on their back when the company succeeds financially, when in fact, their success really derived from market forces, rather than the performance of its human, intellectual, structural, and relationship capital, each of which are intangible assets.
  5. it focuses almost exclusively on financial success with little regard for legacy and social impact, in other words, company responsibility and sustainability are given short shrift.
  6. management team members dictate far more than they listen.
  7. it hires and develops intelligent professionals, but then ‘turns a closed ear and blind eye’ to their input if it appears as nonconformist thinking, i.e., contrary to existing – past practice.
  8. it lobbies against sound regulatory reforms because of the assumption that if passed, will add complexity to the company’s currently operations.
  9. company leaders and management team members believe the company can’t fail.
  10. it underestimates, minimizes, or does not recognize today’s globally competitive, aggressive, and predatorial business transaction environment
  11. accessing top company leaders requires maneuvering through multiple layers of gate keepers, ‘chains of command’, and bureaucracy.
  12. it is observed that management teams’ focus is on amassing accouterments symbolic of success.

Arrogance, of the types noted above, by business leaders and management team members alike, can drain the bottom line, in part, because these individuals are frequently purported to be poor performers themselves, who endeavor to cover up their insecurities by disparaging subordinates, a by-product of which can produce organizational dysfunction and employee (intellectual, relationship, and structural capital) turnover.

To at least partially address this, what I am referring to here as an ‘intangible asset dilemma’, the industrial and organizational psychologist and professor Stanley Silverman developed The Workplace Arrogance Scale (WARS) which will be the subject of an upcoming post.

This blog post has been researched and written by me with the genuine intent it serve as a useful and respectful medium to elevate awareness and appreciation for intangible assets throughout the global business community.   My blog posts focus on a wide range of issues related to intangible assets and intellectual property.   Respectfully, each post is not intended to be quick bites of  unsubstantiated commentary or information piggy-backed to other sources.

Comments regarding my blog posts are encouraged and respected.  Should any reader elect to utilize all or a portion of my posts, attribution is expected. While visiting my blog readers are encouraged to browse other topics (posts) which may be relevant to their circumstance or business transaction.  I always welcome your inquiry at 314-440-3593 or m.moberly@kpstrat.com.

Business’s Tolerance For Risk To Their Intangible Assets…!

November 12th, 2012. Published under Enterprise risk management., Organizational resilience and business continuity/conti, Uncategorized. 4 Comments.

Michael D. Moberly    November 12, 2012

In my corner of the intangible asset business world, it’s quite routine to engage highly experienced, intelligent, and successful business owners and management teams who cavalierly and somewhat patronizingly, express the view that it’s impossible and far too costly to eliminate (prevent) all business risk, that is if of one wants to remain in business.

Often embedded in this perspective, is the misperception that preventing business risks equates with being overly cautious and risk averse, which some argue is tantamount to a ‘fortress mentality’ which substantially dampens any sense of receptivity to new or ‘edgy’ business endeavors.   Too, a frequent refrain is that business risks are simply too prevalent, inescapable, and asymmetric to avoid in every business dealing, absent literally building a risk prevention – adverse ‘moat’ around one’s business.

My response to such consistent expressions from management teams, c-suites, and boards is to respectfully, but objectively, introduce the notion that a business, with a substantive risk prevention-mitigation pillar is not wholly impossible, nor will it be perceived as antagonistic or incompatible to competitive and welcoming business transactions and configurations.

Some management teams, et al, quite incorrectly interpret, in my view, that the resources  necessary for creating a ‘risk moderated’ business (transaction) environment are neither practical nor feasible and, if done, would inevitably expedite business failure because it would hamper and  impede business’s engaging their strongest, most valuable, and charismatic assets, i.e., intangible assets such as intellectual, relationship, and structural capital.

I’m confident few, if any readers of this blog would agree to such a restrictive business environment.

My experience and I suspect that of many readers of this blog as well, recognize that many management team’s ‘tolerance for risk’…

  • varies considerably, even within the same sector…
  • is generally subjective, often influenced by anecdotal evidence, the products and/or services a company produces, and/or evolve from management team, c-suite, and board perceptions – assumptions about (certain) business risks fro, prior experiences, and…
  • locations of, and interactions with a company’s primary markets, i.e., countries, customers/clients, supply chains, and a host of other relevant stakeholders.

Let’s not overlook or forget the economic fact that 65+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, profitability, and sustainability lie in – evolve directly from intangible assets today, which in most instances, a business/company has developed internally (i.e., through prudent use of its intellectual, structural, and relationship capital) or acquired and integrated externally.  So, in essence, when we address the subject of a business’ tolerance for risk, in my view, we’re really talking about how tolerant a company is relative to risks to its intangible assets!

According to Dr. Marc Siegel, a globally respected specialist in organizational resilience, there are ways to measure and assess a company’s tolerance for risk which I have added to throughout this post.  But, as readers know, sometimes all too well, measuring and assessing a company’s tolerance for risk is frequently dependent on the experiences, anecdotes, and largely subjective assessments emanating through the lens of management teams, c-suites and boards, i.e., their…

  1. experience and confidence level acquired through their familiarity with and the significance they attach to known, current, and over-the-horizon risks…
  2. ability to following a risk event through effective  risk management, prevention, and/or mitigation initiatives…
  3. organizational resilienceto sustain a robust business (transaction) environment following a significant (business) risk or disruption and consistently utilize-leverage intangible assets to achieve strong growth, profitability, and sustainability trends, i.e., policies, procedures, and practices in place…

a. to mitigate-minimize the criticality posed by certain risks (reputation or otherwise) and,

b. that would allow a business to return to a state of operational and financial and revenue normalcy in a reasonable time frame      because  it  could maneuver and apply mitigation measures to an array of risks to elevate the probability that a previously agreed  upon (accepted) level of business operational continuity is sustainable should a particular risk actually materialize.

4. recognition of core/key intangible assets, e.g., minimizing intangibles’ fragility, and vulnerability to loss and/or compromise, while   stabilizing their value, competitive advantage-reputation delivery, revenue streams, and sustaining their control, use, and ownership throughout the risk event, particularly that which is embedded in intellectual, structural, and relationship capital.

Another important and relevant inquiry I routinely pose to management teams, is how they achieved consensus regarding the acceptance and/or toleration of a certain level of risk and/or operational continuity relative to specific transactions, new ventures, strategic alliances, or other business initiatives in which risks are present and/or occur?  Interestingly, their frequent answer is again, (a.) certain levels and/or types of risk are inherent features of doing business, and/or (b.) all successful business persons are inherently risk takers.

I examine responses such as to why management teams, boards, and c-suites may be inclined to tolerate certain (business) risks and not others?  I find it’s usually because the…

  • risk is frequently subjectively assessed and/or measured to be relatively low in terms of vulnerability and probability, or the
  • perceived cost of risk mitigation exceeds potential (projected) benefits, making elevated tolerance for risk appear to be the more prudent course of action…

However, experience suggests, absent experienced and expert assessments of risks/threats, management teams and c-suites will characterize certain types/categories of business risk…

  • as being low in priority to receive prevention/mitigation resources in terms of probability
  • as being low insofar as occurrence and asset vulnerability to loss, value reduction, and/or compromise, but
  • high in criticality (adverse economic, competitive advantage effects to the company) should certain risks materialize.

But, the reality is today that, many types/categories of business risks are asymmetric, i.e., their magnitude, frequency, criticality, and speed of cascading throughout a business, should they materialize is substantial.

Therefore, for many, if not most companies, projected business opportunities come already affixed with certain levels of risk.  The objective is to mitigate risk exposures to the key-core intangible assets in play to point that management teams can proceed confidently with a particular transaction or initiative while assuming a portion of the risk with confidence and objectivity it will not spillover, cascade, or adversely affect the projected economics or competitive advantages.

This post was inspired by the work of Dr. Marc Siegel and his strong expertise in the field of organizational resilience on behalf of ASIS International.

Comments regarding my blog posts are encouraged and respected. Should any reader elect to utilize all or a portion of this post, attribution is expected and always appreciated. While visiting my blog readers are encouraged to browse other topics (posts) which may be relevant to their circumstance. And, I always welcome your inquiry at 314-440-3593 or m.moberly@kpstrat.com