Mary Adams's Blog (157)

Three things that make a company smarter

We spend a lot of time in this community talking about how to make companies smarter and more successful. But a few weeks ago, I realized that we have never really defined what we mean by "smarter companies." The answers are complex and rich and something we all need to continue to define. 

But as I thought about it, I came down to three key characteristics…


Added by Mary Adams on November 3, 2014 at 2:48pm — No Comments

Measuring intangibles investment at a corporate level

This summer I wrote about the great research on intangibles in the Chilean Wine Industry done by Mark Dutz and colleagues at the World Bank. And I promised to let everyone know when the full study was released. Here it is and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in intangibles: Public and private…


Added by Mary Adams on October 28, 2014 at 12:53pm — No Comments

Investing in the future

There’s a fascinating “Room for Debate” discussion at the NYTimes entitled Profiting Profits or Reinvesting Them  with the prompt:

Corporations have gone from reinvesting about 90 percent of their profits into their business in the 1970s, to about 10 percent today, William Lazonick wrote in a…


Added by Mary Adams on September 22, 2014 at 1:00pm — 3 Comments

Workplace, real estate, networks and culture…..our exciting new ICountant partnership

Welcome to our newest ICountants Curtis McLeanNat Bulkley and…


Added by Mary Adams on September 9, 2014 at 4:22pm — 1 Comment

The Case of Market Basket - When the intangibles become tangible

Here in New England, a corporate drama is unfolding that illustrates so many of the core ideas that we hold in the ICounting/IC community.

The drama involves a family-owned supermarket chain called Market Basket. There’s a long story of conflict between two sides of the family: one that controls 51% of the company and the other that controls 49%. The long-time CEO Arthur T. Demoulas is from the minority shareholder group and was forced…


Added by Mary Adams on August 1, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments

The Growing Intangible Capital Movement in Chile

I’ve just returned from an extremely exciting and stimulating trip to Chile hosted by Smarter-Companies partner firm Akloe including Arturo Alba, Rodrigo Leon, and Tomas Viveros. Besides getting to know a lovely city and its citizens, I was thrilled to have such a warm and interested reception for our message around…


Added by Mary Adams on July 7, 2014 at 1:26pm — No Comments

Chile going global through intangibles investment

There’s a great new study of the Chilean wine industry funded by the World Bank that…


Added by Mary Adams on June 13, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Porter vs Christensen on HBX

It was fascinating to read the NYTimes story about the decision process behind the creation of Harvard Business School’s new on-line offering called Business School Disrupted. The offering, called HBX, teaches “pre-MBA” classes via an elaborate multi-screened platform and is the business school’s answer to education and the…


Added by Mary Adams on June 4, 2014 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

Valuation Failures

In the latest BVWire newsletter, there’s something of a bombshell (if you’re into this kind of thing):

Fair value is on hold at the FASB, observes Adam Smith (FASB), due to concerns over the BV profession. Up to now, the FASB has been a proponent of fair value in financial statements. This trend will not continue, according to Smith, because of the fragmented nature…


Added by Mary Adams on May 12, 2014 at 1:36pm — 1 Comment

Where's the Proof?

Maybe it’s just a coincidence but I received two messages today. One from a contact here in the Boston area. And another from Europe. I thought I would share the questions and my answers as a way to start a conversation about intangibles, intangibles measurement and “hard” business results. I would love to hear your thoughts....

Question 1: Is there any evidence that evaluators consider seriously the findings of an intangibles assessment in acquisitions or…


Added by Mary Adams on May 5, 2014 at 11:20am — 1 Comment

Facebook, WhatsApp and Intangible Capital

It can be hard to understand corporate acquisitions, especially when they are as dramatic as this one.  Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion. Like most deals of this kind, it’s hard to…


Added by Mary Adams on February 26, 2014 at 2:43pm — 3 Comments

A useful convergence? Intangible Capital, Sustainability and the IIRC

Over the decade or so that I have been focused on intangible capital, there has been a parallel conversation going on about sustainability. These are two broad fields with many players and approaches but I’ll try to generalize the two (excuse the shorthand versions):

  • Intangible Capital – also known as IC, Intellectual Capital, Innovation Capital, Digital Capital – Focused on the changes in the core operating assets of organizations that have occurred as we move…

Added by Mary Adams on February 18, 2014 at 11:44am — 24 Comments

ICounting for the knowledge-era organization

I started this table last year and find myself going back to it more and more. It's a high level summary of the implications of the shift from the industrial to the knowledge era:

When you see it like this, it makes it clear that there is a fundamental shift in our economy and that we all need to continue to learn how to measure and manage in new ways. And why we…


Added by Mary Adams on January 27, 2014 at 5:28pm — No Comments

Intangible Capital and M&A

I was at the FMA-NH meeting on Tuesday night talking about, what else?, intangibles.

Here's an expanded version of the deck I used and thought I would share:…


Added by Mary Adams on January 16, 2014 at 4:18pm — 3 Comments

One year and we're just getting started!



Added by Mary Adams on January 8, 2014 at 11:12am — 1 Comment

Hotbeds of Innovation

 I had a meeting last week with an organization in the desert at the foot of a mountain. Just a plain brick building in a small office park. But inside, there's a hotbed of innovation. And they’re facing a challenge I see more and more in effective companies today: they’re really good at what they do and they are trying to figure out how to scale it. Their core business involves community mental and physical health services. They do that well and can’t help themselves—they are always…


Added by Mary Adams on December 27, 2013 at 10:25am — No Comments

The Importance of the Innovation Ecosystem

When a team of people sit down in a company today, the conversation is much less likely to be “What’s our strategy?” and much more likely to be “How are we going to become more innovative?” This is because it’s getting increasingly hard to win by setting a strategy and sticking to it. Not that innovation is easy either. But companies know they have no choice…


Added by Mary Adams on December 18, 2013 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Intangible Capital in M&A: The Case of American Airlines and USAir

The long-discussed and reviewed merger of American Airlines and USAir has finally gone through. It is the latest in a series of bankruptcies and mergers that have turned twelve airlines into four .

Mergers have a very bad record in general because more often than not, they fail to deliver achieve expected benefits. Airline mergers have an even tougher time because the industry struggles to…


Added by Mary Adams on December 16, 2013 at 9:30am — No Comments

Intangible Capital, Cash and Banks

There’s a wonderfully thoughtful new article by James Saft at the International Financing Review about a recent Fed examination of rise of both corporate cash levels and intangible capital.

It seems that

“Using a new measure, we show that intangible capital is the most important firm-determinant of corporate cash holdings. Our measure accounts for almost as much of the secular…


Added by Mary Adams on December 3, 2013 at 9:20am — No Comments

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