Differentiating Employee Generated Intangible Assets…

Michael D. Moberly, Principal, Founder, kpstrat

Human capital in my view, is often (unfortunately) framed (conveyed – described) by some in a ‘conglomerative’ context, i.e., to characterize the various intangible (non-physical) contributions (variously) developedintroduced by leadership, management team members, and employees as good – better – best way to do particular – things, ala achieve particular – objectives and/or goals, i.e., time, place, circumstance, etc.

For the record, business things intangible are (relative to my definition of 20+ years), ‘people’ developed – introduced intangibles can and routinely do materialize as,

  • various forms, contexts, and applications of (valued, valuable, competitive, lucrative) intellectual, structural, and relationship capital,
  • which can collaboratively, cohesively, and purposefully meld as viable and sustainable ‘operating culture’ capital, relative to their particular
  • contributory roles, to (business – institution) brand, reputation, competitiveness, attractivity, sustainability, and revenue generation capability-capacity,  
  • irrespective of sector, project, initiative, or transaction,

toward a desired outcome, e.g., more attractive, competitive, effective, and lucrative operating culture.

which-in-turn, can, when prudently, ethically, and effectively introduced and applied (be further exploited – leveraged) to produce + deliver more value, competitiveness, and sustainability.

Respectfully (arguably), acknowledging the above definition (application, perspective) perhaps presumes recognition that

  1. growing percentages of business value, sources of revenue, revenue generation capability and capacity, competitiveness, and sustainability are (variously) intangible asset reliant and dependent
  2. various (fiduciary and leadership) obligations – responsibilities to anticipate, to recognize, anticipate, and plan for the various and likely irreversible realities that…
  3. which-in-turn, obligatorily, should translate as assuming responsibility to (consistently) exhibit ‘mindful oversight and tweaking’ (right time, right place, right way) insofar as the development, acquisition, and introduction of new intangibles to reflect particular – products, services, consumers, and expectations in advance of the surfacing – materialization of risk and/or challenge. surfacing.

Admittedly, an intangible asset strategist and risk mitigator, I am pre-disposed to interpreting the phrase ‘human capital’ as an…

  • unnecessarily quick, convenient, perhaps lazy – irreverent way to express and lump together most all people generateddeveloped business things intangible,
    • absent the benefits to be derived by distinguishing or differentiating those intangibles in play,
    • relative to their individual – collective – collaborative contributory roles and value-adds toward a desired (business) operation (initiative, transaction) outcome and/or more resilient operating culture.

Experientially, seldom dosuch broad characterizations convey or translate as meaningful, relevant, or useful (as perhaps they could – should),

  • insofar as differentiating, assessing, valuing, and otherwise ‘drawing attention to’ aka acknowledging, the various and actual contributory roles of intangible assets in play.

Witnessed numerous times, some intangibles are – have beenpurposefully considered, resourced, developed, introduced, and variously refined (by leadership – employees) overtime, to

  1. reflect particular- (business operation) needs – goals,
  2. more consistently, attractively, competitively, lucratively, and,
  3. ultimately – subsequently emergematerialize (to become) timely + effective mitigators – mediatorstoforeseeable, anticipated, over-the-horizon) operational risks…and that’s’ a good thing!

Acknowledging these perspectives and all that same can – may (potentially) favorably influence to – for a business, represents a powerful strategy for those whose confidence allows them to repeatedly pursue competitive, lucrative, and sustainable advantages.

Developing – applying the right strategy, @ the right time, right place, while using the right method, etc., to differentiate, assess, and measure (qualitatively – quantitatively, contributory roles and value, etc.) of ‘people generated intangibles’ is always a prudent undertaking.

Human capital represents both tangible (obviously people) and intangible (intellectual, relationship capital) assets which leadership and management teams alike are…

  • fiduciarily obliged to recognize and resource as operational cultures, which
  • unarguably (more so) in circumstances which are (irreversibly – increasingly) intangible asset intensive and dependent
    • insofar as (business – institution) valuation, competitiveness, sustainability, reputation-brand, and revenue generation capability and capacity.

A rather unexceptional approach (in my view) which some still appear inclined to frame (describe, characterize) ‘human capital’, include blandgratuitous descriptors alluding to…

  • employee contributions to value and competitiveness, e.g., their tenure (low attrition), professional experience (ala education- training – certifications, etc.) skill sets, and the absence of errors-omissions (risks) etc., context which the
  • describer (apparently) presumes will collectively translate (to an audience) as attractive competency and commitment.

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