Business Operating Cultures Are Intangible Asset Intensive…

Michael D. Moberly – March 25, 2024 – Business Intangible Asset Strategist & Risk Mitigator – Founder, Business Intangible Asset Blog & kpstrat

I find many businesses, irrespective of size, sector, or stage of development-maturation, employ individuals, whether they are recognized or not, who quietly hold particularly desirable and intangible skill sets, e.g., they…

  1. can be independently observant of problems, challenges, inefficiencies, and/or risks that arise during their work.
  2. can suggest and execute doable (unique) tweaks, fixes and/or solutions to mitigate and/or eliminate either if-when it is experienced.

To explain this, I have enjoyed engaging in trusted – discreet conversations with individuals employed in various levels in early-stage R&D ventures and/or SME’s (small-medium enterprises) across sectors (nationally and internationally).

To my interest, many of these discussions led to invitations for on-site tours-observations wherein I learned about – acquired (circumstance specific) familiarity with ‘mission essential – first responder’ employees who conceived and frequently executed creative and viable fixes and/or solutions to work problems they observed and/or were brought to their attention.

Interestingly, in no instance (as it happened) did the awareness, development, and application of a fix require a laboratory, production-service shutdown, or wholesale procedural changes. Nor was the fix conceived or framed to attract investment or pursue IP (intellectual property) beyond producing immediate remedies – benefits to their employer.

Most of these special fixes I learned about via these conversations emerged discreetly. There was no evidence of an expectation of or desire for fanfare beyond receiving respectful and collegial handshakes from both coworkers and managers once the fix was conceived and executed internally.

I characterize such discreetness’ as intangible, admirable, and measurable elements – contributions (to an operating culture) which happened to be evident in these discussions to draw interest and anyone who is aware, chooses to look, and wishes to advance and sustain.

Unique and timely ‘fixes’ and the economic – competitive advantages same frequently delivered appeared to be understood and absorbed internally as noiseless competencies and expectancies of a desired (often embedded) business operating culture.

For many genuinely creative – innovative individuals I meet, the development, introduction, and execution of a ‘fix’, frequently entailed something broader – larger than a mere tweak to a process or procedure. Instead, it includes inputs of…

  1. intellectual capital (knowledge and knowhow).
  2. structural capital (processes, procedures), and
  3. relationship capital (when-where how) either was needed and could be applied.

That is not to imply each fix and/or solution applied was wholly successful the first time. Rather, the initial fix, and how, why, and what influenced its development, also influenced me to want to learn more about what creative fixes or solutions would follow from business operating cultures embedded with such expectancies.

Through my lens, there are two specific and equally relevant components to this willingly innovative operating culture which I observed being repeatedly exhibited, ala the intangible and the tangible

  • framing various forms, contexts, and applications of intellectual – structural – relationship capital
  • inventing, making, and applying a tangible-physical ‘gadget’ to mitigate breakdowns, risk of injury, and/or improve efficiency, etc.

Embedded in these conversations were unstructured pods of creative and innovative individuals reflect situations – circumstances (challenges, problems, etc.) they observe and/or become aware and consider what could be done differently and how they may be able to…

  • to mitigate repetition of a problem or challenge
  • by developing – introducing something different, which could be more effective, efficient, and less likely to be subject – vulnerable to the same or different challenges.

None of these discussions (which have occurred over many years, and continue today) reveal a particular fix, or the fixer sought or was destined for ‘fame and fortune’ elsewhere or considered becoming a ‘social media’ influencer. Again, all was quite noiseless while exhibiting appreciation for the inquiry and interest.

Readers can be assured that I do not wish to portray the conversations referenced here, nor what I gleaned from as particularly scientific. Rather, each conversation was uniquely interesting and relevant to me as a business intangible asset strategist.

While my takeaways were framed through an advocacy of business intangible assets, each was variously affirming and significant because they bolster my arguments that business leaders, management teams, boards, and investors are (fiduciarily) obliged to be familiar with and monitor ‘operating cultures’.

So. let there be no doubt, business operating cultures and the types of reputations they stimulate are distinguishable and subject to likes, dislikes, and repeats. Collectively, business operating cultures, as interwoven collections of intangible assets, translate to…

  • sustainable – more durable/resilient business valuations, competitive advantages, and revenue generating capabilities.

Unfortunately, through my lens, there is persistent unfamiliarity and inattentiveness to business operating cultures. More so, it appears in go fast, go hard, go global business development and operating environments.

Hence, far too frequently, the contributory roles – value adds of a business operating culture, are often un-under-appreciated, un-under-valued, taken for granted, and unrecognized unless – until ‘reputation risks’ materialize and cascade to threaten a business’s position and success.

Experientially, as a business intangible asset strategist and risk mitigator, many of those innovations and creations (referenced above) quite clearly revealed desirable and valuable attitudes of an operating culture. i.e., observant, willing, clever, resourceful, practical, and effective.

It remains fascinating to learn that (not-infrequently) ingenuity can emerge and be applied quite noiselessly. That is, the innovator’s ‘invention – innovation would likely be considered proprietary to primarily benefit an employer.

For a host of reasons, each of these creative – innovative fixers I have the good fortune to meet did not seek, nor expect grandiose recognition, external applause, remuneration, but were delighted to discuss same in precise detail.

I am reminded of a scene in the 2012 film titled ‘Argo’ with actors Ben Affleck (playing CIA agent Tony Mendez) and Bryan Cranston (playing a CIA administrator), i.e., ‘if you wanted to become famous, you should have joined the circus.’ Argo – Official Trailer 1 [HD] (

In numerous instances, during my discussions with innovative enterprises, it was apparent the responsible creative – innovator, while they may not have acted entirely alone, they did recognize, (a) when a challenge arose, (b.) what was needed, and (c.) what they may be able to contribute – do as a remedy.

Nothing particularly ‘earth shaking’ here, right. The perspectives I wish to convey is similar attitudes and capabilities are not necessarily one-off occurrences. Instead, they are, for those who may be looking, collaboratively embedded elements to a business’s operating culture.

Individually – collectively these elements, if – when they are recognized, encouraged, and sustained, by leadership and management teams, can serve as attractive, competitive, and valuable differentiators and contributors to/for every business which I am familiar, irrespective of size, sector, or stage.

Readers are invited to examine ‘Safeguarding Intangible Assets’ a book I authored at 

Posts @ Business Intangible Asset Blog present various business economic – operational realities. Business leaders, entrepreneurs, R&D administrators, management teams, boards, and investors across sectors report benefiting from these posts, e.g., mitigating (reacting, responding to) the often ‘public – viral’ risks and challenges which produce reputational risks, are obligations with little room or time for equivocation or error.

 The Business Intangible Asset Blog was created in 2006 and now includes 1200+ topic-specific- long form posts. Posts are intended to provide readers with unique and reliable insights on current matters related to – affecting business things intangible.

 Posts at Business Intangible Asset Blog are developed – written solely by Mr. Moberly (not AI). Posts are intended to draw readers attention to the development, application, management, safeguards, and risk mitigation obligations necessary today for business’s ‘mission essential’ intangible assets.

Readers are also invited to explore other posts, along with books and papers available @ ‘Home – kpstrat

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