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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Guest editorial From: Journal of Intellectual Capital, Volume 9, Issue 2.
Over the last five years, intellectual capital of communities has been the subject of numerous researches and projects in different countries and different contexts. It is now recognised as major stimulating perspective for research and action. This is the reason for which, we, at the University Paris-Sud, in partnership with the World Bank and in close coordination with other large institutions - OECD, the European Commission, The European Patent Office, The European Investment Bank, and Sofinnova, have decided to establish an ad hoc platform, in the form of a World conference, with the aim of stimulating the dialogue and exchange, among academics, policy makers and leading experts, particularly concerned with this topic.
This special issue of Journal of Intellectual capital gathers a selection of some of the best papers presented at the 2nd edition of the World Conference on Intellectual Capital for Communities IC2 which took place at the World Bank Office, Paris, 29-30 June 2006.
The first paper by Ståhle and Bounfour addresses one of the important issues for intellectualcapitalists: understanding in concrete terms the dynamics of intellectual capital of Nations. The paper concentrates on how different components of intellectual capital (education, R&D, ICT, etc.) might have different effects (sustainable effect, boosting effect, linear growth potential and exponential growth potential) on GDP growth of nations, in different contexts (developed economies, transitional economies, developing economies). The paper concludes to the importance of considering the idiosyncratic nature of intellectual capital investment of nations. Depending upon the context as well as of the level of development, some factors might be of relevance, whereas others might have no substantial impact on economic growth.
The second paper by Aubert and Chen brings to the fore an interesting intellectual factor for understanding performance of nations: the island factor. This is certainly one of the intriguing perspectives for intellectual capital management at national level. Based on an econometric analysis, the paper postulates that countries which are either geographical or cultural islands, or surrounded by countries who do not speak the same language, tend to experience higher rates of growth. This is of course of high importance for policy makers. If the island factor is of relevance for growth, then islanding countries is one of the perspectives that should be further considered. The question of course, as it has been pointed by the authors, is how to do it? One of the answers here is lies in cultivating uniqueness of culture and nation’s deep foundations and social-modelling, which is, of course, a contre-courant to the general discourse on globalisation (e.g. homogenisation) of cultures and behaviours.
The paper by Sumita presents into details the genesis and achievements of the Japanese programme on “intellectual capital assets based management (IAbM)”. This programme is certainly one of the most advanced and structured on a global scale. The clear link the author-and the government of Japan, makes between intellectual capital and innovation should be particularly stressed in this context. Innovation via IAbM is considered as an ad hoc response to the global challenges Japan is facing. In other words, for the Japanese authorities at high level, intellectual capital is a valuable and unique perspective for leveraging innovation capabilities of this country. The paper makes a detailed exposé of the policy issues, as well as of the instruments including in terms of reporting- and achievements of Japan both at company, regional and national levels.
The study by Bismuth and Tojo considers further the issue of value creation via intellectual assets, a topic already debate in the IC literature. The study considers the issue from a policy angle, and provides valuable data for assessing the main of component on intellectual capital, based on recent researches in US, UK and Japan. The paper reviews recent initiatives taken at national level, especially in Europe, and aiming at providing guidelines for IC reporting, especially for SMEs.
As far as academic research is concerned, one of the issues concerns the impact of patenting on knowledge diffusion. van Zeeboroek, van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie and Guellec addressed this issue in their study. The question posed here is of course related to the diffusion of academic knowledge: “What is behind the surge in academic patenting?” On the basis of a review of the literature, the authors conclude to the limited impact of patenting on knowledge diffusion and even more, their study concludes to the existence of a virtuous cycle relationship between patenting and publication.
This question of the existence of a virtuous cycle is also considered from a different angle: intellectual capital of Diasporas. This is the core subject of the paper by Kuznetsov. The question of leveraging external networks of scientists, artists and entrepreneurs as contributors to intellectual capital of nations is strongly considered on the agenda of many nations. (China, Taiwan, India, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Armenia, Morocco, among others). The paper examines the interaction between local and expatriate talents, especially those self-organised: the Diasporas. The virtuous cycle dynamics is considered here, on the basis of two case studies: India and Taiwan. One of the components of such a cycle lies in the change of behaviour and performance of countries of origin. As far as the policy aspects are concerned, the question of Diasporas sustainability is posed. According to Kuznetsov, diaspora networks are easy to start, but difficult to sustain. But whatever the conditions, a consistent policy should be defined.
The paper by Schiuma, Lerro and Carlucci investigate the relevance of intellectual capital as a strategic resource at national level, based on a dynamic perspective. Using data from the Italian statistic office, the research develops a set of indexes, proving the existence of positive links between intellectual capital of regions and their level of value creation. This topic is certainly one of those to be further considered by scholars over the next couple of years.
Finally, the paper by Landström develops a set of arguments towards the establishment of a research agenda for entrepreneurship research, based on a an historical exposé via which the author considers the field of research as more inward looking and less open to changes and societies, a paradoxical situation, if we consider carefully the key characteristics of the knowledge economy and its conditions of success.
Overall, the papers of this volume attest to the diversity of issues researchers and policy makers are already addressing. A new issue is under preparation from IC3, and possibly from IC4 (the conference is already planned for the 23-24 of May, 2008, Paris, The World Bank Office).
For a conceptual modelling of IC for communities, see: Bounfour (2005).
Ahmed BounfourEuropean Chair on Intellectual Capital Management, University Paris-Sud
Bounfour, A. (2005), “Modeling intangibles: transaction regime versus community regimes”, in Bounfour, A. and Edvinsson, L. (Eds), Intellectual Capital for Communities: Nations, Regions and Cities, Vol. Chapter 1, Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, Burlington, MA