ICounts Visualizations

ICounts Visualizatons

How do intangibles support your business model?

The open source ICounts Visualization tools are helpful for making sense of the lists of assets in your ICounts Inventory (see terms of use below). We advocate two approaches to visualization depending on the circumstances.

Free-Form Map: The first is a simple continuation of the ICounts Inventory. After you have answered all the questions in the Inventory, you will have a white board covered with sticky notes. Now challenge yourselves: How do the different elements work together? To answer that question, begin with a model that looks like this illustration (click on the photo to enlarge).

Start with the strategic capital: your purpose and the value you create. Add all the elements of your IC that support that purpose: your employee competencies, key processes, knowledge, data. IP and your key relationships.

You’ll probably end up with a number of these IC “networks” or maps. They may even become interconnected.

This visualization technique is dynamic and can be used/adapted easily for IC stakeholders ranging from HR to Operations, IT, Marketing, Sales and many more.


Structured Canvas: The second approach is more defined. It breaks down the business model into specific intangibles categories. Interestingly, other than a small entry for tangible assets, all the elements of a typical business model are intangible! It has a place for each element identified in the ICounts Inventory.

The version of the Canvas shown here details the correct place for recording the answers to each question in the Inventory (Click to enlarge)

This visualization technique has the advantage of using a standard, familiar structure that gives a good overview of the entire intangible capital of an organization—and links this to revenue, costs, profits and reputation. For this reason, it is helpful to use for strategic and financial discussions where you need to tie intangibles with concrete results such as profits, reputation and valuation.

Please visit our ICounts Open Source Hub to download the latest versions of the Canvas including a Word table that you can use to type in your own inventory items. Please note that the ICounts Canvas was adapted under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license from the Business Model Canvas at www.businessmodelcanvas.com.


Both of these visualizations are a good foundation for taking your intangible capital management efforts to the next level. A good next step is to devise a measurement system that identifies where you are today and helps shape your thinking on how to improve your organization going forward.

For more information on ICounts or our training programs, please contact Mary Adams by email or phone at 781-729-9650.

Terms of Use: We make the ICounts Visualization tools available under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license, which allows for both personal and commercial derivative works, as long as they credit Smarter-Companies and release their designs under the same license. Please note that the ICounts name is a trademark of Smarter-Companies and should only be used by those licensed to do so. 

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