Metrics Innovation

December 26, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

Strategy + Business published a great article here on how powerful and important the creation of new metrics can be. It cites the creation of “horsepower” to help people envision the power of Watt’s steam engine, “99-44/100% Pure” as a way of describing Read more

Smart Companies Avoiding Lay-offs

December 22, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

There is an article in this morning’s New York Times that reports on a new trend in this recession: companies avoiding lay-offs by cutting back hours and benefits to their employees. This is happening across the economy, not just in traditional manufacturing. The Times reports:

A growing number of employers, hoping to avoid or limit layoffs, are introducing four-day workweeks, unpaid vacations and voluntary or enforced furloughs, along with wage freezes, pension cuts and flexible work schedules. These employers are still cutting labor costs, but hanging onto the labor…The rolls of companies nipping at labor costs with measures less drastic than wholesale layoffs include Dell (extended unpaid holiday), Cisco (four-day year-end shutdown), Motorola (salary cuts), Nevada casinos (four-day workweek), Honda (voluntary unpaid vacation time) and The Seattle Times (plans to save $1 million with a week of unpaid furlough for 500 workers). There are also many midsize and small companies trying such tactics.

This is a very smart strategy in the knowledge economy where your intellectual capital is your “factory” and where firing a productive worker is akin to selling off your production lines piece by piece. Companies with a strong labor force can use their employees smarts to cut other costs (see my thoughts on this here) and will be much better prepared when the recession ends.

The link between IT and innovation

December 19, 2008 by · Comments Off 

I’m always on the look out for viewpoints on the links between and IT and innovation and I found some good thoughts here on the Synergize IT blog:

  • One of the reasons for M&As is to harness the potential and intellectual capital in the other organisation
  • Innovation at a departmental level will receive departmental results
  • IT can enable innovation to happen smoothly across boundaries
  • IT should make it really easy for people to get to where they would like to go and allow the ideas to flow

We know that technology has enabled the enormous burst of growth of intellectual capital in the knowledge economy. Good management and good IT management are getting harder and harder to separate.

People Who Don’t Get the Intangible Shift

December 18, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Thanks to Presto Agitato here for pointing to the CATO Institute briefing paper here called, “FASB: Making Financial Statements Mysterious.”

The paper, by T.J. Rodgers, CEO, of Cypress Semiconductor Corporation expresses extreme frustration with the current state of financial statements. I share his frustration but don’t agree at all with his conclusions.

Rodgers says that Sarbannes Oxley was supposed to make accounting more transparent and it hasn’t. I would counter that it was supposed to make accounting more reliable and it has. One of the great accomplishments of Sarbox Read more

R&D or Innovation

December 17, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Tip of the hat to Ken Jarboe for a great post commenting on Booz’s Global Innovation 1000 here. Ken makes a great point that this list looks at R&D spending, which is not the same as innovation. It’s part of it but not the whole story.

Intellectual Capital from the Analyst Point of View

December 16, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

This paper by the European Federation of Financial Analysts Society (EFFAS) is entitled, Principles for Effective Communication of Intellectual Capital, opens up with the statement:

High time for the financial community to tackle intangibles:

In developed economies today the most important factors associated with corporate competitiveness and growth are invisible. These intangible assets – collectively Read more

The Intangible Tipping Point

December 11, 2008 by · 3 Comments 

Michael Mandel at BusinessWeek has a great article and podcast here on the intangible economy. He points out that the job losses in the current recession have been concentrated in the tangibles sector while the intangible sector is adding Read more

The Best Writing Yet on Intangibles from AICPA

December 10, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

I have read the latest white paper by Amy Pawlicki for the AICPA Assurance Services Executive Committee with great care and interest. The title is The Shifting Paradigm in Business Reporting and Assurance.  Here are the highlights. Read more

Protect Us from Financial Innovation

December 8, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Ken Jarboe at the Athena Alliance had more to say here about financial innovation and also links to an article here from last year by Professor Elizabeth Warren of Harvard Law School who suggests the need for a  “Financial Product Safety Commission” saying “If it’s good enough for microwaves, it’s good enough for mortgages.”

I recently posted here about Much Reviled Financial Innovations. My point is that we cannot blame the technology of financial innovations and throw it away. But we should blame the people that are hawking poorly developed versions of the innovations. What Jarboe and Warren are saying is related: we need to be very systematic about looking under the hood of these innovations. Process and technology are intertwined in the intangible economy and we have to get better at analyzing both.

A New Approach to Annual Reports

December 4, 2008 by · 3 Comments 

I recently happened upon an interesting site that I somehow hadn’t found until now called Report Leadership.

It was a joint effort last year by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the Corporate Reporting group at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and the design firm Radley Yeldar.

The group took it upon themselves to build a new annual report. The site explains their thought process and includes a sample web-based annual report for a fictitious company.

Having been a consumer of annual reports since my early career as a high risk lender, I can tell you Read more

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