Michael D. Moberly
My professional interest in business’s IA’s (intangible assets) emerged in the early 1990’s, while serving as faculty at Southern Illinois University. That interest continued by good sense and good fortune, to engage in relevant opportunities (national and international); four of which are described below as being especially influential insofar as (a.) framing the content of this book, and (b.) the distinctive services I have developed and deliver to benefit the IA side of client’s business.
1. discovered (early) research produced by the Washington D.C. based Brookings Institution, initially titled ‘the intangibles project’.
The Brookings report described the findings of a study conducted by a team of business economists, researchers, and practitioners who had been invited to distinguish intangible sources/producers of (business) value, revenue, competitiveness, and wealth creation.
Within days of reading that report in my SIU office, I secured travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with Margaret M. Blair, one of the project’s principal investigators (then, a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Law).
My discussion with Professor Blair focused largely on the report’s findings related to IA’s and the projected contributory role/value of IA’s to business operations, which in retrospect, was the prelude to paradigm shifts in conventional thought and practice, i.e., the globally universal emergence of IA (knowledge, knowhow) intensive and dependent business operation.
The Brookings ‘intangibles project’ and comparable studies emerging globally, gave legitimacy to perspectives being advanced that IA’s, i.e., various forms of intellectual, structural, and relationship capital had become the primary underliers (foundations) to business development, competitiveness, and revenue generation, i.e.,
- less emphasison erecting successively larger physical – tangible things, i.e., machines, etc., to produce more widgets, instead,
- more emphasis on acquiring, developing, and exploiting relevant IA’s to produce better widgets, more efficiently, competitively, and lucratively, buoyed by the mantra, go fast, go hard, go global.
The Brookings research and findings were ultimately published as ‘Unseen Wealth’ (authored by Margaret M. Blair and Steven M.H. Wallman).This body of work gave practical and strategic credence to IA research being conducted internationally, several of which had already been published by universities in the E.U. and Sweden. Respectfully, I have read and studied most, and conversed with their respective authors and principal investigators.
The on-going research served as incontrovertible evidence that growing percentages of businesses (globally) are irreversibly IA intensive and dependent, i.e.,
- the development and exploitation of IA’s was being recognized as globally universal, despite their un-assuming presence, were (nearing requisite) underliers to business development, value creation, competitive advantage, and revenue generation.
- but, to do so consistently, there came (fiduciary) obligations to monitor and mitigate risk to key/mission essential IA’s,relative to safeguarding (a.) their respective contributory role, value, and materiality cycles, and (b.) products, brands, services, and various transactions in which IA’s would inevitably, be in play.
2. accepted an invitation to participate in a conference held at Georgetown University’s School of Business (May 2012) wherein, I
- and an international group of 53 IA practitioners/researchers heard Ben Bernanke, then U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman, deliver (in person) the keynote address which was all-the-more remarkable and relevant when attention was drawn to the contributory role and value of IA’s to global business operability.
3. being invited to serve the Intangible Asset Finance Society as program developer for monthly (75+ participant) ‘learning calls’ for which I assumed responsibility to secure global subject matter experts for moderated discussions regarding their work, research, and the various ways IA’s were being applied, exploited, and leveraged globally.
- availed myself of opportunities to discuss business things intangible with practitioners from the U.K., Japan, Brazil, Sweden, and multiple E.U. countries.
4. being appointed to serve as chair, ASIS-International’s Council on Safeguarding Proprietary Information (35k+ global membership) wherein I collaboratively led an international group of subject matter experts. A paper I submitted for presentation to an Annual Conference titled ‘Safeguarding IA’s, was the first of its kind to be delivered to a SRO audience in Atlanta.
Numerous, evidence-based rationales, operating realities, and strategies are described throughout which purposefully portray same as (fiduciary) obligations for business leadership to be consistently alert and engaged in their IA’s. Doing so, is not characterized as an option, rather as normative requisites, i.e., what should be, what must be, i.e., acquire sufficient operational familiarity with business things intangible to develop, safeguard, mitigate risk, and exploit IA’s whenever, wherever, and however it’s feasible and ethical.
Readers of this blog will find no invented or embellished rationales or hyperbole in this manuscript intended to mislead and/or lure readers by incorporating FUD (i.e., fear, uncertainty, and doubt) to charade as legitimate or evidentiary ‘calls to action’.
Instead, the messaging language I have endeavored to apply is objective, factual, prudent, and born from consecutive years of investigative research and professional experiences almost exclusively on matters related to business things intangible!
Lastly, I want to respectfully assure readers of this blog, that acquiring operational familiarity with their businesses IA’s and their intensity and dependency (on same) is a powerful use of one’s time!
The incontrovertible and irreversible economic fact remains, today, and, for the foreseeable future, that…80+% of most businesses value, sources of revenue, competitive advantage, resilience, and sustainability lie in – emerge directly from IA’s, i.e., various forms of intellectual, structural, and relationship capital.