De-Conflicting The Intangible Asset Side of Business

De-conflicting how – where intangible assets are…embedded in and the various contributory roles intangible’s make to business value, sources of revenue, competitiveness, reputation, and sustainability is an obligation, a fiduciary responsibility, an opportunity, not merely an option.

After all, it is economic fact today, and even more so for the foreseeable future that…

80+ (and growing percentages) of most businesses value and sources of revenue lie in – emerge directly from intangible assets, i.e., largely variations of intellectual, structural, and relationship capital.

This-is-why at the outset of each engagement…I respectfully encourage clients – management team members, through relevant case studies and current examples, to assume a role and responsibility for recognizing the intangible assets specific to – embedded in – essential to the operational success of their business – company, i.e., value, competitiveness, reputation, enablers-sources of revenue, and sustainability, etc.

Behavioral research here is relatively clear…that is, recognition – exploitation of the new – different, in this instance, acknowledgement – collaborative incorporation – exploitation of intangibles, will likely entail marginal departure from previous thought and past practice.

Business professionals’ receptivity to departures from previous thought and past practice…is variously dependent on one’s (individual) willingness and curiosity to look beyond convention, i.e., sector specific fallibilities which have translated – manifested as enduring, but unrecognized limitations to business value, revenues, competitiveness, and reputation, i.e.,

assuming a professional willingness to veer outside conventional business culture, thought, and past practice to objectively seek insights into the contributory role, value, and exploitation or acquisition of essential intangible assets.

In most engagements, I find…the foundations – underpinnings for a business’s essential intangible assets, are already present – embedded, but merely need to be revealed, distinguished, assessed, and valued relative to…

recognizing how, when, where, why (the circumstances) their role and contributory value may be further exploited – maximized.

My 20+ years of experience in all things intangible I have…come to believe, not unlike many other requisite prescriptions for achieving business success, there are few wholly without some bias.  In part, that’s because many such prescriptions – presumed requisites have become hard-wired into entrepreneurialism – business management DNA in both theory and practice.

This does not consistently translate as…every prospective business person-professional and entrepreneur is naturally – genetically gifted or equipped, more so than anyone else to recognize and act on the economic fact…

80+% of most businesses value and sources of revenue today lie in – emerge directly from intangible assets, i.e., largely variations of intellectual, structural, and relationship capital, which merely await exploitation!

After all, in most companies – businesses…perhaps particularly those in which there is a presumption their previous – current successes are sustainable, there will be efforts – a culture to suppress the exercise strategic skepticisms. In other words, inhibit delivery of alternatives and default to convention and past practice. 

Professional initiative and curiosity to explore...the intangible asset side of business may succumb to an already incentivized accommodations and past practice which may be contrary to credible business economic research and forecasts.

Examples below are experiential (heuristic)…as articulated by, among others, Nobel economics prize-winner Daniel Kahneman and his research partner Amos Tversky which I have respectfully taken some liberties (in italics), i.e.,

Confirmation bias…the readiness to accept that premises are valid as presented, rather than do the harder work of seeking out and evaluating disaffirming or contrary evidence, i.e., the too-ready willingness to agree with submissions and judgments of managerial past practice.

Over-Confidence…good news is simply preferred over bad; as John F. Kennedy quoted the Duke of Wellington, “Victory has a thousand fathers; defeat is an orphan,” i.e., recognizing businesses intangible assets in a Goldilocks context, may be the preferred versus the reality.

Representativeness…giving credence to that which is familiar and ready at hand – e.g., “this year’s results look much like last year’s – so the trends and estimates can be taken as acceptable,” without a compelling need to fully explore the contributory role and value of embedded intangible assets.

Herding and Groupthink…the convergence of individual conclusions, especially those led from – influenced from higher echelons, pressures from peers or superiors of time, budget, and engagement evaluations menacingly conveyed from ‘a high’ that those who raise alternative perspectives become the problem!”

No business, in my view…should be fated to operate solely on convention or past practice absent recognizing and exploiting the intangible asset sides to that business.

Michael D. Moberly  St. Louis  [email protected]  ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’ since May 2006   600+ posts  ‘where one’s attention span, intangible assets, and solutions converge’!

Readers are invited to review other blog posts, books, and briefing papers addressing a range of intangible asset issues at

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