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Diary of an Intangibles Accountant -part 1

It is broadly true to say that if you live in a completely industrial age where people are only marketing things then tangible accounting knows how to count up 90% of what a company is worth; and if you live in markets where value is diferentiated by service or how just-in-time knowledge is humanly netorked and how energetically innovative people are at colaboratining then you live in a world where tangible accounting only knows how to count up at most the 10% of things owned by the company. In 1989 I  joined coopers & lybrand deloitte which went through 5 names chnages in as many years as one of the then Big 5 accountants racing to audit the world's 5000 biggest organsiations. By definition intangibles are not tangibles, and I had spent a decade researching with mit in boston and a global start up in paris what became the world's first database on what societies trusted most from brands and purspose of almost every product category you can imagine. So I hoped to be able to make a small contribution to the missing audit of intangibles. Anyone with whom I tried to do this got the sack. Somehow I lasted 5 years because they still valued me to design the largest (or most deeply conflict ridden) research projects they had ever done including one on what was done with very project the EU funded in Portugal. But my passion (my hoped for mission in life as a maths guy) since 1990 had become tryiing to network with those who want a different (hi-trust as well as hi-tech, and deeply context-specific) audit of intangibles. Indeed we incraesingy decided that the missing audit corresponds to: does an organsaition have an above zero-sum model, and if it does does its board celebrate a goals specific audit. Not that far from what my father back in 1976 had demanded transformation of economics would also need to do if we were going to empower net generation productivity in an age of a million times more collaborative technology

At the moment I am trying to help the european union celebrate how much it found out about intangibles valuation unitil the bush adminsitartion came in and banned all future funding wherever it had influence. Anyhow this is a copy of where the EU inatngibles crisis networks got to in mapping their research when the last euro of funding ran out . Soon therafter at intangibles valuation's last lunch of the 00s, my deep source in Brussels said - chris politicians dont think the peoples are interested in hi-trust audits. I reckon it will take 3 Euroepan Enrons in the same eyar before they revisit this issue of how risk is compounding globally unseen. Well I believe we have gone way past 3 enrons in one year with what the subprime virus has now done to government finances in every state of usa as well as every nation in EU. So I duplicate these notes which interestingly enough the greeks and spanish researchers who did a lot of the spadework of intangibles have diarised. I realise many of the links have gone missing and will search if they have any relevant substitutes.


European Commission work on Intangible Assets

EC Studies, Communications and conferences

Research Projects


European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP)

The concept of intangible assets has become an important theme of European policy for industrial competitiveness, as Europe increasingly becomes a knowledge driven economy.

In October 1999, a Communication on "Structural change and adjustment in European manufacturing" and recent declarations of new Commissioner Erkki Liikanen reaffirmed that "we must reinforce intangible investments which is a key factor in competitiveness: life-long learning, spirit of enterprise, innovation, protection of intellectual property, European patents (…)". Therefore, EU Information Society policy, R&D and innovation policies and education and training policies should include actions aimed to stimulate innovation, the spirit of enterprises, creativity and the competitive development of European companies through intangible investments. But the Communication recognised that "despite the importance of these types of capital for the competitiveness of the economy, our relevant data sources and our understanding of the investment decisions in this field are inadequate". Also as the "1999 Report on the Competitiveness of European Industry" states:

"Our understanding of the competitive process remains fundamentally incomplete (…) Paradoxically, our knowledge about intangibles is still poor. Intangibles are, by nature, difficult to measure, and the lack of reliable, comprehensive and internationally comparable data is a major barrier to broad-scale empirical analysis".

"The diffusion of ICT-based products and services is contributing to higher productivity (…) Unfortunately, these themes had to be excluded from this (the Competitiveness) report because, for the time being, the appraisal of these effects faces critical measurement problems and would consequently require the development of new statistical indicators."

"Data on more detailed breakdown of investment spending is scarce. Ongoing investment in information technology, for example, explains an important part of investment expansion in the USA. … Unfortunately, comparable data do not exist for the EU"

Since 1994, the European Commission has launched a series of studies, actions and projects which aim to better understand the knowledge economy and the importance of intangibles as competitiveness factors. The European Commission tends to consider that policy makers should take stock of that evolution by defining new objectives and instruments for industrial policy.

1. EC Studies and conferences

1.1 Preliminary work

In 1994, a Communication entitled "An industrial competitiveness policy for the European Union" was published, stressing the importance of investing in areas such as training, R&D and industrial property rights.

In 1996 and 1997, a series of documents analysed the industrial aspects of the information society in the framework of DG III activity (Working document on Impact of the Information Society on Industry and Service Sectors in May 1996; Analysis of the Industrial aspects of the Information Society). This work has been influenced by the specific recommendation of the Competitiveness Advisory Group ("Enhancing European Competitiveness. CAG June 1995 also called "Ciampi report"). The CAG report identifies the need for a concerted European approach in the form of self-sustaining Knowledge Resource Centres. These KRCs will be linked in networks to enhance synergy and ensure a Europe-wide framework for individual experiences. These networks will facilitate information supply and demand and play a leading role in enhancing developments in the information society. For the CAG, this includes fostering business opportunities and education and training activities, diffusing solutions throughout Europe, and encouraging learning organisations.

Also, the first action plan for innovation in Europe (DG XIII, 1997) included the following action point: "To promote a positive fiscal and accounting scheme for intangible investments", to be implemented by the member states.

1.2 1998-1999 activities

This preliminary work has been followed in 1998 and 1999 by several reports and studies stressing the role of intangible as competitiveness factors:

  • report on "Competitiveness of European Industry" which produced a new classification of sectors;
  • a series of benchmarking studies on financing innovation, skills, ICT and new organisational arrangements;
  • study on "ICT investment in the intangible economy" led by DG III and commissioned to MANTOS Consulting (Clark Eustace and Jorgen Mortensen). Addressed to the business community, this publication describes the fundamental changes which have taken place in the mode of corporate wealth creation and competitivity where activities are organised on a global sale, either directly or through a network of linkages between economic agents specially due to the digital revolution in ICT. Researchers have collected, filtered and analysed results from academic, empirical and industrial studies in order to propose a perspective on the productivity of IT investments. The publication contains three main chapters: The changing ICT Market; Assessing the Economic Impact; The Role of Intangibles. This study has been published by OPOCE and is available on DG Enterprise web site.

In the framework of the EU Finnish presidency, the issue of intangibles has been discussed during an Informal Meeting of the Ministers of Industry on Competitiveness in the Information Society which took place in Oulu on 2-3 July 1999. The Finnish presidency note entitled "Improving European competitiveness by promoting the take up of ICT" is available on the web site of the Finnish Council of State

  • A study commissioned by DG Enterprise and performed by a study group led by LL&A on "Business Networks and the Knowledge-Driven Economy" analyses how Knowledge Networks can be considered as an intangible asset. Knowledge networks represent a step, where capacities and rights to access a value located outside the company are developed:

"Accepting the setting of value at company level on what may appear as no more than just potentiality or virtuality will rely on fulfilling two conditions: firstly, that adequate tools for knowledge storage and further delivery will enable the repatriation of these external resources to the company according to its needs; secondly, that appropriate processes are implemented to ensure optimal internal dissemination of knowledge and the involvement of end-users, thus applying a multiplying effect to value generation."

This study is available for downloading on DG Enterprise web site.

  • Two DG III studies aimed at evaluating the impact of intangible investments on competitiveness at macro and micro economic levels:
  • at the macro level, a study on "Intangible Investment and Human Resources" carried out by WIFO. This study proposed a analysis of the structural differences with regard to importance of intangible investments across industrial sectors and underlines weaknesses and strengths of the European industry;
  • at the micro level, a study carried out by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research on "Intangible Investment, Companies and Competitiveness" which investigates current hypotheses on the links between intangible investments and performance across companies and sectors.

In 1999, Enterprise DG has also participated in several events to discuss intangible investments and assets as well as methods and practices of measuring and reporting:

  • Symposium of Louvain-La-Neuve in April 1999. Organised at the initiative of P. Buigues (DG III - Entreprise), A. Jacquemain (Forward Studies Unit and DG XII - Research) and J.F. Marchipont (DG XII - Research), this conference aimed to assess the growing importance of intangible assets and the change of competitiveness sources;

A publication resulting from this Symposium has been published on May 25, 2000 ("Competitiveness and the Value of Intangible assets" Jacquemin (ed) Edwar Elgar). The publication provides a theoretical and empirical analysis of intangible investment and its effect on public policy in Europe. The authors find that the growing importance of intangibles is transforming the direction of public policies in Europe, particularly industrial, R&D, competition and trade policies. They conclude that government policies must recognise the fact that intangible investment is becoming the key element in bringing about durable growth and attribute at least the same priority to intangible factors as to physical investment.

  • Amsterdam symposium in June 1999 organised by the Dutch Government, OECD and DG III (see section on OECD).
  • A workshop took place within the framework of IST 99 conference in November 1999 Helsinki "Exploring the Information Society". Entitled "Intellectual Capital / Intangible Investments: How much is your business worth ?", it was coordinated by Ronald Mackay of the European Commission. In the minutes of the workshop, one can read the following main issues :
    • industry is aware that knowledge management is a key factor for business value but at present there is a need of indicators to measure the performance of a company
    • this problem transcends all aspects of business management (accounting, corporate investment strategy, disclosure of information and aspects of economic management, etc.). "It needs to be tackled jointly by the various institutional actors on an inter-disciplinary basis".
    • it is very urgent to recognise at a policy level the need to invest more in intangibles (R&D, innovation, training and market)
    • all sectors are concerned.

The participants asked for new debates and discussions on these issues, in particular with high level managers. "The sense of the meeting was that the Commission should take an initiative in this". The Workshop Final report is available at

This topic will be on the agenda of IST 2000 in Nice (6-8 November 2000).


Enterprise DG - Unit B1
Ellen Pedersen
Fax: +32 2 296 8867

Information Society DG
IST programme Key Action II (New methods of Work and electronic commerce)
Ronald MacKay
Fax: +322 296 8128

These issues of intangible assets are also monitored by Internal market DG, in particular in Company Law, Accounting and Auditing which tends to modernise EU accounting rules. The Internal market DG has implemented a Contact Committee and Technical Committee which meets regularly to discuss matters particularly relating to International Accounting Standards. The impact of the Single European Market has also recently been analysed in a consultancy report for DG XV, emphasising that "the single market programme indirectly boosted the exploitation of intangible investments" (The Single Market Review, Subseries V: Impact on competition and Scale effects, 1998).

On June 13 2000, the European Commission has outlined a strategy for future financial reporting in Europe in a Communication it has just adopted. The strategy aims to eliminate remaining barriers to cross-border trading in securities. It recommends that there is one set of accounting standards so that company accounts throughout the European Union are more transparent and can be more easily compared. A single set of standards should make it easier to compare corporate performance, to raise capital and to enhance investor protection. This strategy should participate in the creation of an integrated market in financial services that is the aim of the May 1999 Financial Services Action Plan. The Lisbon Summit also insisted on the importance of the comparability of financial reporting to the creation of an efficient, deep and liquid securities market in Europe. The Commission believes that the adoption of International Accounting Standards (IAS) are the way forward.

The Communication announces that the Commission will come forward with proposals before the end of 2000 which would require all EU companies listed on a regulated market to prepare consolidated accounts in accordance with International Accounting Standards. This requirement would enter into force at the latest from 2005 onwards. Member States would be allowed to extend this requirement to unlisted companies and for preparing individual accounts. Since transparency and comparability are of particular importance for financial institutions, this policy will also cover listed banks and insurance companies.

Concerning more specifically human capital, Education and Culture DG tries to develop new ways of demonstrating the value of investments in human resources. The work is clearly policy-oriented and is based on the fifth objective set out in the 1995 White Paper "Teaching and learning: Towards the Learning Society". The fifth objective states that investments in training ought to be treated in the same way as other capital investments. More recently, on the Luxembourg Employment Summit in 1997 and especially the 1998 employment guidelines, Member States were asked to re-examine the obstacles to investments in human resources and possibly provide for tax or other incentives. A survey on prevailing accounting and tax regulations in the EU Member States suggests other ways of achieving equal recognition with other capital investments. In this field, the European Commission works in close cooperation with CEDEFOP (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training), whose aim is to develop indicators that measure the effectiveness of vocational training and education (see below).

Finally, many subsets of intangible assets are monitored by other DG (R&D, innovation, Information Society, IPR, etc.).

2. Research Projects

Various research projects are also being carried out on intangible investments as part of the Fourth and Fifth Framework R&D Programme.

In particular, two research projects are on-going:

MERITUM (Measuring Intangibles to Understand and Improve Innovation Management)

Initiated in 1998 and funded by the TSER programme (Targeted Socio-economic research), the aim of the MERITUM project is to investigate possibilities to measure and report intangibles. 9 universities and research institutes in 6 European countries are participating in the project (Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Spain and Sweden).

The general aim of this European project is:

  • To provide insight into the process of transforming intangibles into increased wealth. How are they managed and accounted for and how do they contribute to growth and employment?
  • To develop guidelines for the measurement and disclosure of intangibles.


  • Jan-Erik Gröjer and Ulf Johanson, University of Stockholm;
  • Professor Guy Ahonen, Swedish School of Economics, Helsinki.
  • Associate Professor Rita Asplund, ETLA, Helsinki.
  • Associate Professor Per Bukh, Aarhus University.
  • Professor Leandro Canibano, Universidad Autonoma, Madrid.
  • Professor Manuel García-Ayuso, University of Sevilla.
  • Professor Hélène Löning, HEC, Paris.
  • Professor Jan Mouritsen, Copenhagen School of Business.
  • Associate Professor Hanno Roberts, Norwegian School of Management, Oslo.
  • Professor Paloma Sanchez, Universidad Autonoma, Madrid.
  • Professor Hervé Stolowy, HEC, Paris.


The Project is divided in sub-activities:

  • Activity 1: The classification study : its objective is to develop a set of classification schemes of intangibles acceptable and useful for the purpose of management control as well as valuation of the enterprise by the capital market;
  • Activity 2: The management control study: the aim is to investigate how the management control is carried out, why and when organisation members do what they do, and how component parts (people, organisational units, etc.) interact;
  • Activity 3: The capital market study: the objective is to investigate the following research questions; (1) What is the difference between market and book value?; (2) Can the difference between market and book value be explained by dependency on human capital or any other specific category of intangibles?; (3) Is there an abnormal return on human capital dependent stocks?; (4) Is there an abnormal return on stocks dependent on other categories of intangibles?
  • Activity 4: Guidelines for measurement and disclosure of intangibles.

In parallel, some national Centre have developed their own sub-projects.


MERITUM Coordinator:
Professor Leandro Canibano

Universidad Autonoma de Madrid - Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales
Ciudad Universitaria de Cantoblanco

Ctra. de Colmenar, Km. 15 28049 Madrid ESPANA
Tel. 34 91 397 85 61 or T. 34 91 397 43 39 - Fax. 34 91 397 85 98
e-mail :

Other contact details of the research team are available on Meritum web site: 

The MAGIC project (Measuring and Accounting Intellectual Capital)

The overall objective of the MAGIC project is the development of a low-cost and pragmatic IT-solution for the measuring and accounting of Intellectual Capital in engineering and manufacturing environments. Therefore holistic methods and tools have to be developed which enable the quantitative as well as the qualitative evaluation of IC. This project is led by Oy Quality Production & Research Ltd (FI) and involves 5 other partners and a business group. In a survey conducted by FhG-IAO (one of partners) 83% of industrial respondents believe that measuring intellectual capital is critical to achieving business success.

The industrial relevance of the measuring and accounting IC itself according to the MAGIC project:

  • Dow Chemicals’ activities in Intellectual Asset Management brought the enterprise already an overall $ 40 million in additional capital and savings.

  • Skandia’s activities in Intellectual Capital Management helped the enterprise to expand its number of point of sales from 5,000 to 50,000 in 5 years.

  • The market value of engineering and manufacturing companies is between 2-5 times higher than the net book value. This difference is due to the intangible assets, which are not reflected by any traditional financial report.

  • In recent surveys 81% of the screened companies have not assigned any value in their annual report to intangible assets, however 49% of the surveyed companies plan the investment in applications supporting the management of intellectual capital.

  • The KMAT study by the American Productivity and Quality Institute documents that only two of the eleven surveyed companies were pursuing an Intellectual Asset Management although all companies clearly stated the importance of measurement systems.

  • The example of Chevron proves, that Intellectual Capital Measurement is essential. Only by sharing and implementing ideas on energy use management they have generated a 150 Mio. $ savings annually.

  • The work of Strassmann shows that companies in average spend 150.000$ an each employee during their career for learning and education. No financial report will reflect this.


The main deliverables of the project will essentially consist of:

  • Benchmarking study of "Best Practice" in measuring Intellectual Capital (IC)
  • KM methodology handbook describing the system of methods and tools for the measurement and accounting of IC
  • IT-tool for the support of the measurement and accounting of IC based on standard software solutions
  • CD containing elaborated road map "How to evaluate and better manage Intellectual Capital (IC)"


Wehrgrabengasse 1-5 - Austria - 4400 Steyr
Tel: +43 7252 884 - 200
- Fax: +437252 884 - 244
Mag. Andrea Polterauer ( and Mag. Harald Huemer (

Fraunhofer Institute of the University of Stuttgart - Institute of Human Factors and Technology Management (IAT)
Nobelstraße 12c - D - 70569 Stuttgart
Tel: +49 711 970 - 01 - Fax: +49 711 970 - 2299
Ina Werner ( and Ilja Hauss (

Web site: 

3. Eurostat

Eurostat has developed a classification proposal concerning intangible investments, in association with national statistics institutes, in particular with CBS, Statistics Netherlands. such as the study "The role of intangibles in the competitiveness of industry" with CBS, Statistics Netherlands. The aim of this study is to:

  • provide a definition of categories;
  • make an inventory of existing statistical data sources;
  • make an inventory of data available in firm records;
  • make a proposal for acquisition of statistical data.

In February 1999, Eurostat and SBS, Statistics Netherlands published "Intangibles Investments - Definition and Data Sources".

Eurostat has presented its Workprogramme 2000 entitled "EPROS – The European Plan for Research in Official Statistics" which contains a sub-programme called "Definition, measurement and exploitation of new socio-economic statistical indicators for the Information Society" which has resulted in the SINE initiative : "Statistical Indicators for the New Economy".

In that framework Eurostat has launched a call for R&D proposals in February 2000 in order to encourage the research communities to further elaborate R&D projects on these topics. Eurostat has prepared a document whose purpose is to present and describe concepts, ideas and issues associated with the Statistical Indicators for the New Economy.

According to that background paper, "the transition from the industrial to the information society is characterised by the rapid growth of intangible assets, whereas economic and social activity still relies substantially on physical, tangible goods. The relation between the two has to be defined and measured."

"Measuring the New Economy" : statistical measurement instruments and processes are faced to huge challenges because "Classical methods need to be adapted, more automatic and intelligent data sources would need to be developed. More rigorously relevant, reliable, timely, comparable and user-friendly statistics would be needed for indicators in all domains". If several Statistical Indicators for the New Economy are already available, there refer more to technology and infrastructures, specifically on tangibles.

Therefore new indicators must be developed. Eurostat proposed to group these new indicators in 4 main domains :


Possible groups of indicators

Technology Domain

  • Information Technology and Communications (ICT) Infrastructure;
  • Internet Infrastructure;
  • Digitisation;
  • Virtualisation;
  • Multimedia;
  • Internet users;
  • Internet penetration.

Industry Domain

  • ICT production and trade indicators;
  • Knowledge Capital Indicators;
  • Industry Performance Indicators;
  • Inter-enterprise alliances indicators;
  • New Business Organisational Types Indicators.

Economy Domain

  • Production indicators;
  • Economic Performance indicators;
  • Foreign Trade Indicators;
  • Foreign Investment Indicators;
  • Internet Economy Indicators;
  • Business Indicators;
  • Deregulation Indicators;
  • Information Production & Diffusion indicators;
  • Price and Wage Indicators.
Social Domain
  • Economic and social demography indicators;
  • Lifelong learning/training indicators;
  • Living standards and lifestyles indicators;
  • Cultural indicators;
  • Social inequality indicators;
  • Technology penetration indicators;
  • Internet penetration indicators;
  • Time use.

Based on the EPROS-SINE presentation paper  

This paper refers to several nomenclatures on economic activity, products, trade and occupation. Concerning indicators on intangibles, it refers in particular to the work done by Michael Peneder (WIFO) in his working paper N°14 of May 1999 entitled "Intangible investment and human resources" (available at on WIFO site).

Eurostat wishes that the expected results of research have immediate applicability. In particular, Eurostat considers that "there should be a fuller exploitation of the new, intelligent data sources that are emerging as part of the evolution of the New Economy" and that :

  • "There is scope for improved measurement of such elements of the New Economy as for example the following:
    • The intellectual "knowledge" capital;
    • The productivity gains from networking and embedded technology;
    • The effect of the New Economy on European competitiveness,
    • The dynamic links between multiculturalism and the New Economy.
  • In the framework of research for SINE, some emphasis should be given to the concept of sustainability, both at national and local level;
  • There is a need for predictive, "leading" indicators and to tighter partnerships between the public and private sectors in the provision of relevant indicators and statistics."

A number of EUROSTAT funded projects have been also carried out in the area of Indicators for the New Economy.


Directorate A: Statistical information systems; research and data analysis; technical cooperation with Phare and Tacis countries
Unit A4: Research and development, methods and data analyses
R&D sector
Jean Monnet Building - L-2920 Luxembourg
Jean-Louis MERCY  or

Tel. (352) 4301-34862, Fax (352) 4301-34149 

4. European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP)

The "Centre Européen pour le Développement de la Formation Professionnelle" was established by Council Regulation 337/75 as a non-profit- making body, independent of the Commission, to help rethink the direction and requirements of vocational training and assist the Commission in promoting the development of vocational training.

A series of recent European Commission documents – principally the White Paper "Teaching and Learning: Towards the Learning Society" and "Towards a Europe of Knowledge" – set out proposals and guidelines for stimulating VET. In that framework, one task of CEDEFOP is to look at the financing of vocational education and training and, more specifically, works on measuring and reporting on human capital.

In particular, its aims is to support the objective 5 entitled "treat capital investment and investment in training on an equal basis" of the European Commission white paper, "Teaching and Learning: Towards the Learning Society". Therefore, a dossier on "Human resources accounting" was included in CEDEFOP workprogramme for 1997-2000:

"Despite a number of studies concerning the effects of training, information gaps hinder the quantification of the effects of training and the qualification of the respective roles of the different financiers. In economic terms, all financial expenditure is a risk. The risk is greater when the results of the expenditure cannot be formulated in tangible terms. One answer to this problem is to try to translate intangible assets into tangible terms, by giving them a concrete value."

"This is an issue which is increasingly debated. The Commission’s White Paper on Teaching and Learning emphasises the treatment of "capital investment and investment in training on an equal basis" to explore possible ways to account for investment in intangible resources. As we move towards the ‘Knowledge Society’, the challenge for the future will be measuring the value of knowledge within enterprises in the same way as other assets are measured.

The potential of human resource accounting (HRA), however, remains stronger than concrete progress. A number of conceptual, methodological, legal and institutional barriers exist. In addition, there are different interests associated with this issue, in defining both its objectives and the way in which it should be pursued. The dossier on this topic will provide an overview of the various approaches to human resource accounting as well as a comprehensive outline of the stakeholders’ interests in HRA."

Source: Funding Vocational Education and Training: the CEDEFOP approach for providing information and informing debates

CEDEFOP has conducted several activities concerning the measuring and accounting of human capital such as:

  • participation to conferences;
  • implementation of a "human capital network", i.e. a electronic meeting room for human capital which contains resources on a list of research Articles, Literature Review, Publications, Working Papers, Conference Presentations, etc. on human capital;
  • studies and papers such as:
    • Exploring the returns to continuing vocational training in enterprises, a review (Barrett A., Hövels B., den Boer P. Kraayvanger G) - 1998
    • Regognition and transparency.
    • Human resource accounting: interest and conflicts - Frederiksen Jens V. and Westphalen Sven-Age
    • Reporting on human capital: objectives and trends - Westphalen Sven-Age


PO Box 22427 - Finikas - GR55102 Thessaloniki
Sven Age Westphalen
Tel: +30-31 490 111 - Fax: +30-31 490 102

PRISM - EUIntangibles

This project was funded by the European Commission and the findings published in 2003. The multi disciplinary task force was project managed by IntangAbility.

PRISM stands for: Policy Making, Reporting and Measurement, Intangibles, Skills Development and Management.

Intangibles include areas of value such as knowledge, relationships, reputation and leadership. These  types of intangibles are important to all organisations irrespective of size or sector.

Intellectual Property (IP): patents, trademarks, design rights etc.

Intellectual Assets  (IA): customer histories, databases, lists etc.

Intellectual Capital (IC): knowledge about clients or prospective clients, knowledge about how to do things, knowledge of technologies, skills, competencies, capabilities, techniques, etc.

“Intangibles can be positive or negative, hence intangible assets or intangible liabilities - for example a good relationship vs. a bad relationship, a correct database vs. an incorrect database, processes which produce quality and reliability vs. processes which produce errors and defects, a good location vs. a bad location.” Tim Hoad

Importance of intangibles: “As intangible assets grow in size and scope, more and more people are questioning whether the true value - and the drivers of that value - are being reflected in a timely manner in publicly available disclosure,” Former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt 


Downloads - /

PRISM - The PRISM Project

PRISM - A new perspective on the knowledge value chain

PRISM - Measurement and Reporting of Intangibles

PRISM - Policy Research into Innovation and Measurement practice

PRISM - Project overview 2001-2003

PRISM - The Prism project through metaphor

PRISM - Understanding and Measuring Intangibles

PRISM - Understanding value creation from intangibles - Case Studies

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What Everybody Needs to Know First About Economics

Economics designs peoples futures but this depends on what logics are analysed- here are the logics The Economist used in the early 19080s when it discussed how the net gneration could be the most productive time for youth


A nation/place cannot sustain growth unless its capital is structured so that family's savings are invested in their next generation's productivity. Norman Macrae's 1954 book on The London Capital Market provides chapter and verse. Historically it was timely as London's industrial revolution had planted most of the developed world's laws and financial instruments. Futurewise this book became a source for Norman's forty years of leadership challenges including 3000 editorials. THese became branded in the 2 genres of entrepreneurial revolution and future history of the net generation genre which he focused on from 1972. They script in practical details most of the changes that economists would need to make to historic rules if globalisation is not to collapse the worldwide financial system of 2010s

Norman framed his writings on future purposes huan most wanted around the idea that The Net Generation to 2024 would face change on a scale never previously experienced by our human race. To prevent risks and celebrate job creating opportunities Norman proposed in his 1984 book (The 2024 Report) that the world should unite around youth's most exciting millennium goal. He explained why economics would design the most popular futures if the goal was chosen as racing to end poverty everywhere. Reasons included: its possible, its exciting, it creates jobs post-industrial generation will need to design around collaborative technology, it can empower youth to joyfully unite cultures as we become borderless (more connected than separated), it aligns economics principles with nature's exponentially (compounding) rules of evolutionary selection which are community-up and open.

 download more profiles of 100 collaboration leaders of 2010s = youths most productuive decade 


We are shocked how few people know of the main findings of the renowned economist Maynard Keynes- increasingly only economics riles the world and the greatest risk to the future working lives of our children comes from elderly macroeconomists who hire themselves out to the biggest who want to get bigger.

Historically when faulty systems of macroeconomists ruined civilisations they fell one by one. But Einstein took Keynes logic further and hypothesised that the first generation to become more connected than separated by technology would be subject to a final exam. Now if we let erroneous macroeconomists rule whole continents of nations will collapse.

By 1976 my father (Norman macrae) -probably the last student of economics mentored by Keynes-  was writing at The Economist why the next half century would see the net generation tested - he called upon the genre of Entrepreneurial Revolution (ER) networkers to sort out the greatest  innovation challenge economics - and so the human race - will ever face .




The opportunity of 10 times more productivity for the net generation (with million times more collaboration technology than man's 1960's race to moon)

.The THREAT is preventing the threat of collapsing continent-wide system of value exchange. By 2020 the (exponential track impacting future) sustainanbilyty of every village around the globe will likely be lost or won

..logo3responsibility.jpg...How could we be experiencing record youth unemployent when we are living in a time of a million times more collaboration tech than a generation ago? According to research by Entrepreneur networks started at The Economist in 1976, we are 36 years off track in compounding 2 unustainable systems whose follies multiply each other
  • that caused by non-economic media which also distracts us with glossy images and soiundbites instead of future realities and integrated cross-cultural and inter-generational understanding - full briefing here
  • World's biggest maths error compounded by macroeconomists and all global professions with a ruling monopoly - see below
Discuss: what does everyone need to know about the way economists think and behave. Understand 2 opposite segments of E : The Unacknowledged Microeconomist and the Fatally Conceited.MacroEconomist

Keynes - because economics will incresingly rule the world, the greatest danger to the futures of youth is elderly macroeconomists where fame maks them compete to superpower over peoples  

 Boulding: ****the historic significance of capitalism is precisely a society in which exchange has become a more important source of power than threat**** in his book economics as science

Von hayek- given the fatal conceit in my profession, I really think you shouldn't be doing this - awarding me a first Nobel Prize in economics 
freedom of speech and everything about the future you want, NOW depends on enough people knowing how to play the value exchange game - and why that isnt exactly what the game of monopoly teaches - an exchange is where each side says I wants something from you so let's work out what I can do for you and purposefully improve on this over time through hi-trust communal feedback
debate difference between true capitalism and phoney capitalism
  • agree on a picture like that on the right- we have seen cases where one of the 10 coordinates shown felt the system had betrayed their greatest trust, and so zeroised the organsaition or network (even ones that accountants had been reprorting record profits ahd $100 billion equity
  •  start discussing multi-win models - see our 4 favorites from 36 years of debates with entrepreneuruial revoltionaries
  • choose say 12 markets whose future purpose is most vital to sustaining your children - and use media to agree what the greatest human purpose and corresponding mkilennium goals are that need investing in to fee each market and youth's working lives in serving the most valuable purpose
  • get those (including all parents?) who save across generations to throw out speculators from banking systems and capital markets - eg next time there is a bailout (which means taking your childrens money to refinance a bank) wipe out shareholders; let them set lawyers on old managers and any politicians their pr's lobbied; keep savings accounts safe; restructure bank so that it invests in youth productivity and sustaining communities not bubbles, and not trapping people in debt

Goodwill explains up to 90% of value impacts of any organsaition in a networked economy- yet no nation yet requires that organisations it licences to audit goodwii. 20 years of research has proved the following reciprocal relationship - the purposeful question" who would uniquely miss what if your organsaition did not exist?, has the reciprocal question why let your organisation contnue to exist if it has broken my life-crtiical trust it promised to serve



valuetrue capitalism maps how each side win-win-win from other sides communal purpose over time -this  goes back over 250 years to the criteria of free markets adam smith demanded freedom of speech questioned - he talked about the transparency of community markets where a rogue trader might fool some of the people but not for long and not for too big to fail! - the journal of social business edited by adam smith scholars at his alma mater Glasgow University advises people of any other tongue how to build up from adam's hi-trust ideas to such constructs as sustainable global vilage networking first mapped by schumacher (another keynes alumni) - we have a library of free articles for you to choose and translate from

phoney capitalism spins a monopoly, a non-free maket - one side rules by saying I want to take more and more from all of you- esentially this is what rules when global accountants audit only how much one side has profited/extracted withouth how much has it sustains other sides- phoney capitalism can only result in exponentai meltdown becuase so much has been extracetd from system that its unsustainable for human lives or for nature or for both

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    - in the 1990s I was working with big 5 accountants; I argued for a missing audit they needed to do as regularly as their monetisation audit; I called this how goodwill modelling multiplies value around a gravitational purspoe ewhise gials all sides want to progress over time; it turns out that in knowlege scetors over 90% of the future is bayesian predicatbale on quality of goodwill relationships-3 yeras before andersen crashed I usd this model to warn them that if they stoped multiplying conflicts around true and fair they would be zeroised by society- I didnt succeed in getting my advice to be acted on but at that time unseen wealth publications made by brookings and georgetwon had just been banned by the incolimng bush adminsitration - who didnt like to be told that without the second aidt risks would compound unseen- every collapse USA has seen a hand in during 2000s (and viralised to other nations since 2008) can be traced to this mathenatical error

    what can be done about this mess
    -debate difference between true cpaitalism and phoney capitalsim
    choose say 12 markets hose future purpose is most vital to sustaining your children - and use media to aggree what the greatest huan purspose and corresponding mkilennium goals are that need investing in
    get thse who save across generations to throw out speculators from bankiing systems - eg next time there is a bailout (which means taking your childrens money to refinace a bank) wipe out sharehilers; let them set lawyers on old managers and any politicians their pr's lobbied; keep savings acconts safe; restructure bank so that it invests in youth productivity and sustaining communities not bubbles, and trapping people in debt
    -if you do this today's millions times more coalbration technology than a generation ago can make the next decade the most productive time and joyful for youty and everyine to be alive instead of the most dismal time where natios led by old macroecnomist put youth out of work
    DO YOU KNOW...
    Q: Original Purpose of Economics? A The Scotland of the 1750s was at the end of a first generation to have found their country taken over by England's Empire., So Adam Smith was motivated to start writing about how to design systems so that peoples could could look forward to their next generation sustaining more productive lives than they had had ... 7 quarters later keynes general theory issued humanity's greatest challenge- economics as a systems science had reached the state that only economics rules the world ... moreQ: What do the man-made systems that rule the world look like? A Purposeful value exchanges composed round 5 main flows of how productively peoples lives are used and 5 main demands human beings make as co-workers, customers, owners, stewards of the globe, stewards of society at the village level - moreQ: Why can't human race in 21st C be sustained with choice of economics made by 20th C biggest banks and govs etc? A Long Story: ER alumni are in their 37th year of offering debating scripts eg1 on wht some industrial age systems after world war 2 were designed to be too big to exist as the first net generation became more connected than separated by geographical borders ... What is known is that 2010s is most exciting decade to be an entrpreneur because our impacts define what will be possible for all our childrens' children more 

    World Class Brands are in 25th year (as a subnetwork of Norman Macrae's Entrepreneurial Revolution) of helping sustain the most purposeful organsiations or markets in the world. Core to any charter of purpose is a quiz revolving round this question
    - who would uniquely miss what if this didn't exist?. From this Q&A's list of trust-flows, economics maps how to connect producers and demanders of the exchange in multi-win models of purpose. Henceforth, potential conflicts with this goodwill model are audited and resolved at every cycle so that unique purpose is celebrated to lead the future by continuously multiplying the most value and trust. This model provides the simplest benchmark around all exponential impact metrics of sustainability investement can be calculated and the transparency of all multi-win models are webbed around pro-youth economics. Questions welcomed washington dc hotline 1 301 881 1655



    Not youth's economics of the world Not our schools of the worldYouthandYunus.comLeadersandYunus

    Muhammad Yunus expresses faith in entrepreneurs at G20 summit

    Posted on: November 23, 2011
    Category: News

    Microfinance Focus, November 4, 2011: Professor Muhammad Yunus was invited to deliver a key note speech during the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit held in Nice, France. Professor Yunus addressed an audience of more than 400 entrepreneurs from all G20 countries. In his speech, he shared his personal entrepreneurship experiences, his faith in young entrepreneurs to be the pillars of society and the need to include poor countries in the discussion process in making global decisions.

    Professor Yunus being an entrepreneur himself started off creating the Grameen Bank that provides microfinance services to the poor who had little access to financial provisions. From that, he ventured into a wide number of social businesses such as Grameen Nursing College, Grameen Eyecare Hospitals, Grameen Shakti, etc.

    He has always considered young entrepreneurs to be the most effective solution for the future. He said “In my opinion, G20 YES is a fabulous initiative, gathering so much energy and momentum from all over the world. Because of their creativity and leadership, provided that they commit to share the value they create, these 400 young entrepreneurs in this room can change the world.”

    Professor Yunus is also a member of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Advocacy Group, advising the Secretary General of the United Nations. Hence, he believes that the next generation of youths should be handed over the process of the MDGs as soon as possible. He believes that entrepreneurs will have a key role to play in fulfilling the MDGs, if they are committed to the social value created by their companies, and social business can be part of the solutions.

    In his speech, he added that the G20 needed to broaden its scope to deal with the current world crisis. It can no longer remain a political forum with economic agendas. The G20 needs to create a social agenda as well. Professor Yunus proposes that ‘social business’ should be brought to the agenda of G20, as one of the concrete and effective solutions to be considered for immediate implementation so as to guide capitalistic investment towards social value and jobs creation, rather than sheer profit maximization strategies. A social business is a cause-driven business where profits stay within the company for its sustainability.

    Lastly, Professor Yunus concluded that the G20 should be expanded into the G25, where poor countries from each continent should be included in the global agenda which they are part of. He added that “Their problems are inter-related with others, and their proposals of solutions should be considered by the most economically advanced countries in making global decisions. A G25 would be a big step toward ensuring that global social issues are raised, and MDGs implementation is fully shared on the global agenda. And finally, because fighting poverty together is the only way to bring long lasting peace in this world.”


    inquiries chris macrae info us tel 301 881 1655 ; us office 5801 nicholson lane suite 404, North Bethesda, MD 20852 USA - skype chrismacraedc
     Mapping is a process of discovery. Crucially maps are only as usable as updating correctness of bottom up information. Think of your own use of a map. You look for the "you are here arrow". You want to be directed to somewhere/someone you dont know how to get to; you want your return vist to be safe as well as a value multiplying win-win.
    Does anyone remember the simplest findings of einstein and jon von neumann. Einstein proved that to innovate more value you need to go more micro in what you model; von neumann showed that there is more value to be networked by interfacing safe flows across systems instead of ruling over separation of boundaries. There isnt a single global metrics profession that gets these mathematical -and natural - principles right. Unless we change this global markets will cycle through ever greater collapse and more and more communities will lose sustainability. Mapmaking is that critical an idea to what the net genration will achieve in 2010s; but its also one that children from primary age up can action learn. Its simple. Its just that it works the other way round from top-down people's fatal conceit.
    It explores how to make the invisible principles and practices of real wealth creation visible, and therefore useable. Our planet needs case studies underline the search for new win-wins that build ‘system integrity’
    Trust-flow is the unseen wealth to invest sustainability in. Tranpsarently mapped it develops a goodwill gravity  tyhat invites with roleplayer in a community to multiply goodwill while sustaining their own cashflow.. Trust is not some vague, mushy, abstract warm-hearted sentiment. It is an economic powerhouse – probably just as economically and socially important as oil.
    The point is, there are specific things you need to do to get trust flowing, just as there are specific things you need to do to get oil flowing. And like oil trust has a dark side. Right now, the world is awash with the carbon emissions which threaten the stability and sustainability of its ecosystems. Right now, the world is also awash with the ‘carbon emission’ of trust – mistrust. Indeed it may well be that our ability to tackle the one issue – the threat of environmental catastrophe – depends on our ability to tackle the other issue: how to generate, deepen, extend and sustain trust.>br>But what is the best way of doing this? One thing is for sure. You don’t build and sustain trust via some sentimental exercise of goodwill to all and sundry. There are three very simple principles at the heart of effective trust generation. 
    First, trust is generated via win-win relationships. It’s virtually impossible to generate or sustain trust without mutual benefit for those involved. But beneficial outcomes are not enough in themselves. For trust to be built and sustained, both sides need to signal a demonstrable commitment to finding win-win ways forward. Such a  commitment may require real changes to what we say and do. Second, real ‘win-wins’ are hardly ever purely financial or material. You don’t build trust simply by walking away with more cash in your pocket. Trust works at all the dimensions and levels of human exchange. Yes, it’s about financial and material rewards. But it’s also about purpose (what people want to achieve). It’s about politics with a small ‘p’: the use and abuse of power, the crafting and application of rules of fair play. And it’s about emotions: the sometimes overwhelmingly strong emotions, both positive and negative, that are generated when people deal with other peopleWhat’s constitutes a ‘win’ – a sense of real improvement – is therefore highly specific. It depends absolutely on the details of who the parties are, what they are trying to achieve, in what context. Building trus, therefore involves discovering these specifics. Just as oil doesn’t flow out of the ground, get refined and pump its way into motor vehicles automatically and without effort, so identifying and doing what is necessary to get trust flowing requires dedicated, skilled effort. It requires a disciplined, structured process, not a vague sentiment.

    3) Third, even if we do steps 1) and 2) there’s still a good chance it won’t succeed. Why? Because it ignores an invisible third factor. In the real world, purely two way bilateral relationships don’t exist. There is always a third party whose interests or outcomes are affected by what the other two parties do but who is not a party to the contract. The environment is a case in point. Producers and consumers may both benefit from buying and selling to each other – but what happens if, in doing so, they destroy the environment they both depend on?

    This raises a hugely important question. When two parties pursue win-wins and build mutual trust, are they doing so in a way which creates a win and builds trust for the third party at the same time? Or are they simply pushing the problems – and the mistrust – further down the line on to this third party? Building vigorous, healthy networks of trust is a different kettle of fish to ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ win-win conspiracies. It requires a Map of all the key relationships plus careful consideration of knock-on consequences. It requires a different perspective.

    These three simple, basic steps do not happen automatically. They need to be worked at. The territory needs to be deliberately Mapped and explored. What’s more, there are obstacles in our way – mental and practical obstacles that need to be cleared. Prevailing economic theories about ‘rational economic man’ for example, deny the need to commit to win-win outcomes. Instead, they promote supposedly ‘rational’ (i.e. narrowly selfish behaviours) which actively undermine trust The same theories insist that the only valid measure of human benefit is money, thereby excluding from consideration many of the biggest opportunities for improvement. Meanwhile many vested interests do not want to extend the circle of trust to third parties and complete networks because their positions of power depend on their ability to take advantage of the weaknesses of these third parties. That’s another job for Mapping: helping to identify and mount such obstacles.
    The potential benefits of doing so are unthinkably huge. They start with a simple negative: the relief that comes from when you stop banging your head against a brick wall. Mistrust breeds wasteful, wealth destroying conflict that tends to feed on itself. Anger and hatred engender anger and hatred. Simply easing or stopping the terrible waste of mistrust would transform prospects for many millions of people. We desperately need to find ways of doing this. Then there are the positive benefits. Understanding the real nature of human wealth – all those dimensions of purpose, ‘politics’ and emotion as well as money and material comfort – means we can start being human again; human in the way we think, and act. What’s more, many of these intangible benefits won’t cost a penny. They’re there for the taking, if only we puts our minds to it.
    But there’s more, because trust is also an economic superpower in its own right. In the pages that follow we will show conclusively that material and financial riches are also dependent on trust. In fact, we will argue the case for going one step further. We will say that material and financial riches are a by-product of trust: the visible fruits of invisible, intangible human exchange. Once you understand that sustainable cash flows are a by-product of sustainable trust flows, your understanding of what makes a successful business is transformed.
    Separately, each of these three fruits – reducing the waste of conflict, unleashing the potential intrinsic benefits of human exchange, and energising the sustainable creation of material wealth – are massive in their own right. Put them together and they represent a vast new continent of opportunity.
    As we said, this book is addressed to entrepreneurs and system  innovation revolutionaries. Wherever you happen to be, whatever the change you want to make is, the principles explored in this book apply. The wish to change and the will to change are not the same as being able to change successfully. For that you need to understand your territory. You will need new Maps


    0.1 Has a continental or worldwide search solutions on job creation that can be replicated across communities been organised before this EU launch of Nov 2011?
    While alumni of entrepreneurial economics have always valued job creation searches- we know of no clear evidence that this has been top of mind in the way that continental-wide government has operated since 1984 even though it was scripted by The Economist's Unacknowledged Giant as the number 1 question the first net generation would need to mediate if sustainable futures and humanity's most needed millennium goals are to be served
    what's different about nov 2011 is 4 top directorates of the EU have nailed their future reputation to this search -more
    1mobamauniobamauni@obamauni bon mots hillary zero sum thinking leads to negative sum results
    1hHCL TechnologiesHCL Technologies@hcltech Press Release: #HCLT listed for the fourth consecutive year in the @WorldBlu's "Most Democratic Workplaces" list. Retweeted by Traci Fenton
    49mAl RobertsonAl Robertson@al_robertson About last night's British Council @time_image film collection launch, with three of my favourite BC films! #WhoWereWe Retweeted by Lloyd Davis

    The End of the EU part 1

    TRANSCRIPT: 'The Unthinkable'
    Video above.

    Tom Ashbrook: You're talking about, writing about the end of the EU, the end of the common currency.

    Paul Krugman: it's unthinkable except that continuing down the current path is unthinkable. Spain is actually the epicenter. The Spanish government did nothing wrong. Spain was running a budget surplus before the crisis. It had low levels of debt. But it had a monstrous housing bubble, as did a lot of places, largely financed by the way by German banks which were lending to Spanish banks, which then lent on. And when the housing bubble burst you were left with a severe, extremely severe recession, and so the answer has been government austerity which just makes the slump deeper.

    The alternatives to a breakup of the euro have to be Europe-wide solutions. And so the solution, if there is one, involves accepting a higher rate of inflation for Europe as a whole and that particularly means higher inflation in Germany.
    --Paul Krugman

    What are Spain's alternatives here? Well, if they still had their currency, their own currency, the answer would be devalue, let the peseta drop, Spanish exports would become a lot more competitive, they'd be well on their way to recovery. They don't have their own currency, so people are saying: Well, you have to do all this stuff to stay within the Euro. At some point you say: Well, you know if your answer to our problem is just ever more suffering, ever more you know... 25 percent, 50 percent youth unemployment. If that's your notion of a solution, then maybe although it would be a very terrible thing to have the Euro breakup, maybe that's better than what we're doing. So that's becoming a real possibility now.

    The alternatives to a breakup of the euro have to be Europe-wide solutions. And so the solution, if there is one, involves accepting a higher rate of inflation for Europe as a whole and that particularly means higher inflation in Germany. Talk to the Germans about this and of course they go crazy, but you have to say to them: What is your answer? What you're doing right now is just a path to the collapse of the euro with enormous damage and radicalization and a lot of things that you don't want to see happen in Europe happening.

    TA: If the Germans can't take their foot off the brakes, they're just intrinsically and against history and everything else, Weimar, if they can't do it, what happens?

    PK: Then Europe breaks up and... No, I mean I think it's that stark. It really is, it really is that extreme because you know it's one of those things, you can't be saying that, but then you say: Well, let's talk this through. You know, let's as it said in the original edition of the Godfather - Let us reason together. Right? What are the ways that this can work out? And the current path is not one that can work out.

    It's like an irresistible force hitting an immovable object. On the one hand it's unthinkable that they'll allow the euro to fail because the euro is a terribly important thing, it's not terribly important economically, it would have been better off if they'd, if they had never done it, but now that it has been done, for it to fail is a defeat for the European project, the whole project of bringing peace, democracy, integration to a continent with a terrible history. So it's unthinkable that they'll allow it to fail, but it's also unthinkable that the Germans will accept moderate inflation which is the only solution any of us have been able to come up with. So one of two impossible things is going to happen. Your bet.


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