Great Minds Write Alike

Consultant Debunking Unit


Two things matter in the world of consulting: brains and money. Put them together and you’ve got consulting’s hottest product: Managing Intellectual Capital. It’s so hot that in the last several months, three books have appeared with the exact same title, same cast of characters, same model, same … well, you get it.


The Book Intellectual Capital
(1996, Thomson Business Press)
Intellectual Capital
(March 1997, Doubleday Currency)
Intellectual Capital
(March 1997 HarperCollins Business)
Author/Hero of the Revolution Annie Brooking, founder and managing director of The Technology Broker. Leif Edvinsson says: “Her work brings to the theory and practice of Intellectual Capital its opening and closing argument.” Thomas A. Stewart, member of the board of editors, “Fortune.” Leif Edvinsson, the world’s first-ever director of Intellectual Capital for Swedish financial services firm Skandia, wrote the book with Michael S. Malone, coauthor of “The Virtual Corporation.”
What is Intellectual Capital (IC)? “Hidden value.” Intellectual property, customer loyalty, know-how, employees’ competencies, technology systems, corporate culture. “Hidden gold.” Patents, processes, employees’ skills, technologies, information about customers and suppliers, and old-fashioned expertise. “Hidden value.” Knowledge, applied experience, organizational technology, customer relationships, professional skills, employee morale, patents and trademarks.
Where has IC been? Hidden in “goodwill.”
Revolutionary Era Setting The Third Millennium, where “the value is not in the tangible assets but in the intangible ones.” The Information Age, where “knowledge is more valuable and more powerful than natural resources, big factories, or fat bankrolls.” The Knowledge Economy, where “the role of intangibles ? completely overwhelms the tangibles.”
IC Enemy No.1 “The double-entry bookkeeping system invented five hundred years ago.” “A mathematically minded Venetian monk named Luca Pacioli ? now famous among accountants for showing how to use double-entry bookkeeping.” “Double-entry bookkeeping, a product of the late medieval collision of Arabic symbolic mathematics and European papermaking.”
Where to look for hidden value. Market assets, intellectual property assets, human-centered assets, and infrastructure assets. Three places, mapped out by Leif Edvinsson and fellow IC pioneer Hubert Saint-Onge: Human Capital, Structural Capital, and Customer Capital. See Tom Stewart’s replica of Leif Edvinsson’s model.
What to do with it. Identify goals, audit intangibles, assess strengths. Find, grow, store, sell, and share it. Capture, elucidate, and leverage.
Recommended Tool The Intellectual Capital Audit Intellectual Capital Navigator. The Skandia Navigator
Favorite sages Heraclitus Walter Wriston, Peter Drucker Walter Wriston, Peter Drucker
Most overwrought analogy. Tracking intangible assets is like “bungee jumping and pot-holing.” Managing information is “like sand in a beach house.” Intangible assets operate like “the buried root system of a tree.”