Over the past five years, the management of intellectual assets (information systems, research, advertising, education, etc.) has emerged as a central issue for companies and organisations. In complex economies, these assets now attract nearly 50% of all investment, but the fact is that company executives and stakeholders have not really made the effort to put in place the resources that would allow them to extract maximum benefit from these assets. It is true that their combinatory nature, volatility and associated risk prevent any mechanistic approach to their guidance and management.
As part of its programme of activities, the Chair organises topic-specific one-day events to review the current state of research into the key components of intellectual capital and the initiatives associated with its management.
Information systems and their associated assets (especially applications and key skills) form the central asset backbone for companies and public organisations to a degree largely underestimated by executives and analysts. Nevertheless, they account for more than 25% of all corporate investment.
The urgency surrounding this effort to clarify management methods is further heightened by the context of economic crisis, in which investment and resource redeployment decisions may be taken without recourse to effective aids to navigation. The current ‘back to basics’ discussion cannot be isolated from the reality of today’s companies and their economic models, which are now less linear and dominated by these assets.
In the same way as companies’ other intellectual resources, information systems are, in practice, subject to significant constraints when it comes to clarifying and measuring the value they create. Extrapolating US data shows that the target global market for such evaluation will be somewhere between 2% and 4% of global GDP, or between $830 billion and $1,620 billion of investments to be evaluated.
The issue of value is further highlighted by the emergence of standards similar to IFRS for intellectual assets and, more generally, by the trend towards the emergence of comparative reporting standards for functions and companies.
Organisational capital and organisational design
In the knowledge economy, the way in which organisations conduct their business is being profoundly called into question. As the information and communication technologies ratchet up the pressure around decentralisation and centralisation simultaneously, so companies themselves have introduced new management practices (outsourcing, networking and the joint construction of intellectual assets) that raise questions about their most deeply entrenched organisational routines.
At a more analytical level, many theories and a lot of research work have emerged over the past five years highlighting the importance of organisational issues as a key element in the development of organisations and their competitive edge. Resource theory and its similar counterpart dynamic capability theory are two of the most prevalent theories in this respect. Many researchers have attempted to delimit the concepts of organisational capital / organisational design by considering them from the general intellectual asset perspective. Some believe that organisational capital / organisational design can be defined in close relationship with human capital, education and the design of working conditions; others focus more on processes. Nevertheless, as they stand, and despite their relevance and undoubted appeal, these concepts still require further clarification from at least four different viewpoints: an analytical (epistemic) viewpoint – what is the status of organisational capital as a concept? How can it be defined? An ontological viewpoint – what type of (implicit) order can be defined within and around organisations, particularly in a context dominated by a pronounced weakness in social links? A measurement viewpoint – which types of indicator should be defined and deployed? And lastly, an implementation viewpoint – how can organisations incorporate organisational capital into the definition and implementation of their resource allocation strategies?
- One-day topic-specific workshop on Organisational Capital
- International Workshop on “Knowledge Markets, knowledge networks and the joint Assets Issue”
Company innovation strategies have been heavily influenced recently by the urgent necessity for cooperation and interaction with external sources of varying proximity. This is more or less what is covered by the term Open Innovation. Although this necessity is intrinsically indisputable for reasons of technological evolution, investment optimisation and the opportunities opened up by the information technologies and new areas of value creation – the most important of which are social networks -, we do not yet have a joined-up and integrated vision of company practices (beyond isolated success stories) or the barriers to open innovation and its possible limitations.
Arriving at that vision is the goal of this first European survey, which was recently launched by the Université Paris-Sud European Chair on Intellectual Capital Management in conjunction with Zeppelin University in Germany. The prime purpose of this survey is to provide a detailed overview of European company Open Innovation practices (particularly in France and Germany) and their degree of maturity.
Intellectual property, knowledge networks and markets, and communities
Cultures, museums and traditional knowledge
In recent years, museums have displayed extraordinary energy in finding new growth paradigms to respond to ambitious criteria of cultural excellence, at the same time as ensuring parallel growth in the budgets required to achieve these goals against a background of increasingly severe financial constraint. Some parts of the world have promoted new cooperative structures in which museums can create value from their name, reputation, specialist skills, expertise, etc. to increase their impact and influence within the fast-developing international museums community. The Louvre, the Guggenheim Museum, the British Museum, Versailles, the Musée d’Orsay and many other institutions have, through the variety and ambition of their projects (and particularly their international projects), demonstrated the value of their intellectual capital (Bilbao, Abu Dhabi, travelling exhibitions, etc.). Although these projects have driven growth at the same time as pursuing cultural excellence, they are nevertheless controversial, thereby creating a context specific solely to the museum world.
This seminar aims to provide a discussion and research forum that brings the academic world together with museum management professionals, and draws on the experience of a broad range of stakeholders, all of which play an important role in the concept of museum development.
Regions, cities and ‘Creative Classes’
In the knowledge economy, and against a background of global urbanisation, the natural communities we call cities are generally considered to be important institutional structures for sustainable collective development. The question of innovation and creativity is generally seen as one of the most promising levers to achieve such an objective in the long term, thereby increasing the attractiveness of cities It is against this background that many – sometimes much debated – conceptual frameworks have been put forward, including those intended for use in preparing public policy (Richard Florida’s ‘Creative Class’ is one of those that have attracted particular discussion). A number of city rating models have also been proposed, based on a range of different innovation and attractiveness criteria. But as yet, no position of agreement has been reached between researchers and policymakers on how to measure innovation in cities in a way that would be acceptable to the majority.
Intellectual assets and the public sector
In private companies, we are seeing a very real awareness of the value of these intellectual assets in the value creation process, but a similar trend is also there to be seen in the public sector.
This conference aims to promote discussion between government bodies, with input from executives who have conducted practical projects to create value from some of their intellectual assets. Special attention will be focused on the expertise and brand capital of government bodies, with the goal of demonstrating how these value creation initiatives contribute to modernising public services.
Active management of the intellectual asset base is also a lever for action for further education and research institutions seeking to achieve growth in an increasingly competitive international environment. The conference will review the latest developments in intellectual asset management tools for universities and the public sector in general.