Innovation in Intangible Assets Drives Company’s Market Value

The Dutch Financial Times published an article about how intangible assets are the most important value-determining factor of an organization, however investments, innovation and attention to these assets lack. This is contradicting but shows the challenge as well, because more than 75 percent of the average market value is from intangible assets. The challenge is that these aren’t quantified in financial metrics. Intangible assets consists of human-, organizational- and information capital.

Investments in capital

According to the article, investments in human capital means focussing on (continuous) education, shaping and training. Investments in organizational capital means investing time and money in open business models, open innovation and setting the right conditions for creative ‘knowledge workers’. Last but not least, investments in information capital spur the collection, interpretation and thus quality of the available internal information.

Open Business and open innovation

Sourcing innovation and knowledge in general both internal and external enables to create more sustainable output, making use of available intelligence without having to contract it inside.

Opening up, collaboration, corporate culture, all these things bring along change and are enabled by change. Change to become more agile, more resistant against economic and market developments, more adaptive.

Uh-oh, big data

Gartner’s top predictions this week revealed that more than 85 percent of Fortune 500 organizations will fail to effectively exploit big data for competitive advantage. Gartner analysts said that going into 2012 there is an increase in the amount of information available to organizations, but it’s a challenge for them to understand it. The press release further reports on big data:

“Current trends in smart devices and growing Internet connectivity are creating significant increases in the volume of data available, but the complexity, variety and velocity with which it is delivered combine to amplify the problem substantially beyond the simple issues of volume implied by the popular term “big data.” Collecting and analyzing the data is not enough — it must be presented in a timely fashion so that decisions are made as a direct consequence that have a material impact on the productivity, profitability or efficiency of the organization. Most organizations are ill prepared to address both the technical and management challenges posed by big data; as a direct result, few will be able to effectively exploit this trend for competitive advantage.”

In another article by the Dutch Financial Times this data exhaust was recognized, and not having the right means to effectively and efficiently process the vast amount of data. Data that is more and more produced by social media.

Relate the Gartner prediction to the three types of capital plus the need for change to enable, it’s a predicition that challenges all aspects.

Due to internal and external focussed, innovation is extended to all departments. Social media guidelines are created and employees are expected to be brand advocates. In terms of human capital this requires adaptation. From an organizational point of perspective open business facilitates collaboration, co-creation, which again requires adaptation. From an information capital perspective, a cooperative intelligence perspective needs to be adopted, making sure an information overload is being diverted. In essence, cooperative intelligence is about not inundating people with too much information, just what you know is important to them.

Increasing market value

Intangible assets are the ultimate source of sustainable value creation. Innovation and more investments are required to remain viable, to create and maintain competitive success and increase the organization’s market value.

If you want to learn more about intangible assets, value and measurement I advice you to read  Kaplan and Norton’s book: Strategy Maps – Converting intangible assets into tangible outcomes.

By Gianluigi Cuccureddu

About the author:

Gianluigi CuccuredduGianluigi Cuccureddu, contributing editor, is an experienced writer specializing in innovation, open business, new media and marketing. He is also Managing Partner of the 90:10 Group, a global Open Business consultancy, which helps clients open their activity directly and indirectly to external stakeholders through the use of social media, its data and technologies for the purpose of competitive advantages in marketing, service- and product innovation.

  • Mary Adams

    Kaplan and Norton’s work is a good introduction to intangible assets but it is ultimately very limiting because their definitions focus on a small part of the overall intangibles driving innovation, growth and performance of companies today.

    A more expansive view comes from the intangible capital view–see a comparison of the two views here

  • Hans LeFever

    Interesting! Can you provide the reference to the original newspaper article (or link if possible)

  • Gianluigi Cuccureddu SMP

    Hi Hans,

    I scanned it. Here you go:

  • Hans LeFever

    Thanks very much. I noticed the article is by Prof. Strikwerda, director Nolan Norton Institute and a management science and practice authority in the Netherlands. An important elemt he describes is the recognition by managers of intangible captial (human, informational, orginisational) as an crucial investment area.
    That forms a barrier for getting traction on the initiatives mentioned above.

  • Gianluigi Cuccureddu SMP

    Yes that’s a challenge indeed. But there’s movement, even if it are small steps.

    There are many fields, such as open innovation, knowledge management, employer branding etc, that are impacted but also can thrive on the external developments.

  • Walter Dolan PhD

    See my book ’33 Ways to Improve Your Business’

    Walter Dolan PhD (Business Innovation)

    [email protected]

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