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As of January, 2013, we are dedicating most of our time to our new venture, smarter-companies a venture dedicated to empowering consultants with tools, training and continuous learning to help them build smarter companies that optimize the return on the intangible capital that drives 80% of corporate value in companies today. (And, yes, the name of this new venture was inspired by the name of this blog, which I started in 2008!)

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The Walking Dead

part 4 of the “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” series

In the intangible capital version of Joni Mitchell’s lyric, it’s sometimes easiest to understand how intangible capital works by illustrating what happens when it’s “gone.” This month, I’ll describe the fourth* of these called “The Walking Dead.”

Teams or companies with this syndrome are missing the human capital they need to succeed. They fail to hire the right people. They fail to retain the right people. Or, all too often, they lay off the right people for the wrong reasons. [Read more...]

October 2, 2012 | Comments Off


What do your customers hate about doing business with you?

Last summer on the highway near my home, there was a program called the Fast 14 that rebuilt 14 bridges in 8 weekends. The idea was this: instead of taking the traditional route of a 3-4 year construction project, the Fast14 used extensive planning and staging so that the actual work of replacing the bridges occurred between 8 PM on Friday and 5 AM on the following Monday.  The approach, called accelerated bridge construction* saves direct costs through efficiencies and significantly eliminates indirect costs in the form of lost time in traffic snarls and the cost of ensuring work zone safety.

I’ve been fascinated by this because it’s a great example of how the shift to the knowledge era has provided the tools to fundamentally change any business. [Read more...]

May 1, 2012 | Comments Off


Knowledge is replacing technology as the key enabler of our economy – The case of agriculture

I talk a lot about the knowledge era. I specialize in the measurement, management and monetization of knowledge intangibles. I wrote a book on intangible capital. So what I am about to say shouldn’t be that big a surprise to me but it kind of is….

Technology is not as important as it used to be. [Read more...]

October 14, 2011 | Comments Off


Institute of Management Accountants Event: Intangible Capital, the real value of a business

The NH Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants is hosting Trek principals, Mary Adams and Michael Oleksak, at their February meeting.

From the event announcement:

Did you know that a balance sheet presented under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles can only explain 20% of the value of the average company? The rest is lumped together as “intangible.” Very little is known or understood about this hidden 80% of value, yet this information gap affects the ability of management teams everywhere to make the right decisions and drive growth performance, as well determine the true value of their company. [Read more...]

January 19, 2012 | 5 Comments


IT Management is Really IC Management

The KNOW Network just declared IT Departments Fail to Deliver Value based on a global survey of IT executives by Axios Systems. Here are a few of the data points they cite:

  • 57% believe their systems do not deliver the value expected by the business
  • 64% are unable to provide the business with real-time quantifiable metrics demonstrating the value of their services
  • 39% believe that business decision-makers still do not understand the value IT brings to the business.

The reason that IT management is so hard is that it is so closely tied to IC management. And companies are doing an even worse job with IC than they are with IT. [Read more...]

January 5, 2010 | Comments Off


Holistic IC Management

I have been increasingly coming to understand that one of the key implications of intangible capital theory is that knowledge should be managed holistically. This morning I shared that thought on Twitter and had @JoannaHiggins ask, “what does that mean in practice?

I tried to answer in 140 characters but couldn’t do it yet. So here’s a longer answer:

The theory of intangible capital (with roots in the intellectual capital movement in Europe and Japan) [Read more...]

June 13, 2012 | Comments Off