The future success of organizations increasingly depends on what they know rather than what they do. Knowledge is embedded in a number of distinct types of intangibles in an organization. Management of intangibles requires different tools and approaches than those commonly used to manage industrial‐era tangibles‐based businesses. The purpose of this article is to propose a simple framework for management of knowledge intangibles.
The author examines and synthesizes a number of new and/or prominent theories of management (such as intellectual capital, business performance management, innovation and network analysis) through the lens of her 25 years of practical experience as a financier and strategy consultant helping companies create intangibles management capabilities.
The result is a set of ten concepts that together provide a primer on the management of intangibles. Each concept is presented together with its tangible counterpart to help the reader envision its role in the organization. The concepts are: knowledge is the new oil; intangibles are the new raw material; intellectual capital is the new factory; i‐capex is the new capital expenditure; assessment is the new ROI; performance measurement is the new scorecard; innovation is the new strategy; orchestration is the new command and control; maps are the new organization chart; and reputation is the new bottom line.
The article includes exercises to enable the reader to apply each of the ten concepts in his or her own organization.
The article helps executives increase their understanding of diverse trends by filtering them through the lens of intangibles management. Understanding of these concepts is increased through comparison with the common building blocks of tangibles management. The article introduces two original concepts: intellectual capital seen as the “new factory” and spending on intangibles seen as “intellectual capital expenditures.”
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