Taking Inventory of Your Business’s Intangible Assets…

May 10, 2021

Michael D. Moberly Principal, Founder, kpstrat

Taking inventory of ‘mission essential’ intangible assets, for a business, organization, institution, or professional services firm, etc., irrespective of sector and monitoring same for potential fluctuations in to their

  1. contributory role(s) to mission (individual, collaborative, collective) value, revenue generation capacity (or potential) competitive advantage, and reputation-brand sustainability, etc.,
  2. vulnerability (probability, criticality) to risk materialization and mitigation… a fiduciary obligations for every leader!

Inventory of Tangible – Physical assets vs. Intangible – Non-Physical Assets…

Taking inventory of tangible (physical) assets involve various technological applications, i.e., machine – hand held, etc., to scan + track UPC’s (universal product codes) which are ‘non-verbal symbols for reading information labeling affixed to physical assets, i.e., track – monitor whatever (physical) ‘status’ is deemed relevant, e.g., when, where, who, and how many, as needed.

  • UPC’s were invented by in 1973 by George Joseph Laurer, an IBM engineer while working at Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, NC.
  • According to the Raleigh News Observer, (December 9, 2019) upon Mr. Laurers death, ‘the first transaction using a bar code occurred in 1974, at a Marsh’s supermarket in Troy, Ohio, with a pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum being scanned’. That pack of gum is now at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Taking inventory of intangible (non-physical) assets is not nearly as straight forward. Perhaps fortunately, there are no comparable UPC’s (technologies) affixed to the originators – developers – holders of intellectual, structural, and relationship capital, ala people.

  • Experientially, leaders of any entity are obliged to recognize each is (variously) intangible asset intensive, dependent, and reliant.
  • As such each leader, irrespective of business or sector, is (also) obliged to be receptive to recognizing, cultivating, differentiating, assessing, refining, and sustaining the various existing + projected collectives and collaborations of existing intangible assets applied at the right time, right place, and right way.

A primary intent – purpose for inventorying(differentiating – assessing) intangible assets contributory role and value, etc.) as ‘mission essential’ is to gauge their

  1. materiality – sustainability to (business) mission.
  2. vulnerability to – probability – criticality of particular risk materialization.
  3. capability to sustain competitive advantage and contribute to achieving (projected) returns.

These obligations derive from the (irreversible) economic fact that today, and for the foreseeable future

80+% of most business’s – organization’s value, sources of revenue, competitiveness, and sustainability, etc., lie in – emerge directly from contributions of intangible assets, i.e., various forms, types, categories, constructs, and applications of intellectual, structural, relationship, and cultural capital.

Ifwhen leaders overlook ‘mission essential’ intangible assets, i.e., they may be un-recognized,un-inventoried, un-differentiated,un-monitored,un-under-valued,and risks to their sustainability are dismissed…

  • experience suggests, the probability intangible assets canwill be utilized effectively, timely, competitively, lucratively, and sustainably as they may be capable, diminishes to a point of potential – irreversible un-competitiveness, devaluation, and loss to – use by a competitor.


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