Advancing our understanding of Knowledge-based capital through the work onf the OECD

Are we advancing our understanding of knowledge-based capital?

The good news today, is we are seeing some advances on capturing and measuring knowledge-based capital. Recently the OECD produced one of its usual 300 page plus reports – so few read them – on “Supporting Investment in Knowledge Capital, Growth and Innovation

This report summarizes OECD’s attempt to provide the evidence of the economic value of knowledge-based capital and to help meet the policy challenges it raises. These are across the areas of innovation, taxation, entrepreneurship, competition, corporate reporting and intellectual property. Something that is not easy to summarize at all, as all have simmered away under different ‘doctrines’ and ‘churches’ of denomination, pursuit and faiths.

Learning to communicate our understanding of our real internal value needs a concerted unitied effort

We do need to find better ways to unite and describe the value creation that knowledge-based capital brings. In particular our intellectual and organization capital and the importance this has to have sustaining investment put into it for future wealth creation

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Comment by Kenan Jarboe on November 8, 2013 at 12:09pm

Paul -- let me stress again, I think the OECD work is path breaking (and I was happy to be involved with it).  But I don't think it is answer but a step on the journey.  For more on IIRC - see Nicks earlier posting.

Comment by Paul Hobcraft on November 8, 2013 at 12:01pm

Sorry I hit the "add comment" button a little early and the part underneath should have been in the body of the reply

Comment by Paul Hobcraft on November 8, 2013 at 11:47am

Actually we don't really disagree on trying to solve this and move on. A "wrong narrative" being applied can be spread wide across much within this debate that has rumbled for years. Lets keep changing the suggested frameworks, arguing within the community, validating individual vested positions.

Also I really think we have moved away from IP and the rest all being goodwill- surely. I do not get that from OECD report they narrow it downto that degree. No we have moved on (I think and believe).

There is growing recognition of the other capitals but I see your concerns in their opening definitions and how they (OECD) have defined this, yet how many knowledgeable people worked on this OECD document yet it still fails to capture what you feel it should. a worry? No a disaster..again!

Is it a better PR value that they come up with knowledge-based capital. I don't think so? They might be wanting to move the intransigent away and try and reframe this?

Whatever, if the OECD fails to encapsulate all capitals then any paradigm shift will come from where and more importantly our lifetimes?

I struggle with this inability to come together in a community for IA, who for so many  this has been discussed this, making refinements (partly from learning, partly from position) yet we still speak of only "getting closer" with one specific model, ok does it capture IP, Data enough? Has the IIRC model been adopted de facto or should it. Where are the arguments or papers on this?

Look I'm stepping into a forest you and many more have trodden before I would think. But I just remember what was suggested on a few occasions "Are we seeing the wood for the trees?"



We need to move a framework out that maybe version one but it is a version all get behind not to tear down but to build up with increasing knowledge.

We agree, no one should advocate a misleading version but we should ALL advocate a version that can be scaled and built upon that has the chance of a decent acceptance because it shows its value in identifying and valuing all the present (more) hidden capitals.

Comment by Kenan Jarboe on November 8, 2013 at 11:01am

Paul -- I think we will have to disagree here. My concern is that we once again go down a path that appears to provide a clear focus but misses key points -- and thereby creates a wrong narrative.  We are still fighting the misconception that there are is Intellectual Property and everything else is "goodwill".  I don't want to now start advocating for a yet another misleading version that forces me to have to explain "yes, its' knowledge-based capital but it also needs to include relational capital, structural capital etc etc etc".  What we run into using the term knowledge-base capital is that it is IP, data and human capital.  As far as a common framework, I think we are getting much closer with the IIRC model.

Having said that, let me repeat that I both support the OECD work and understand why they used the term knowledge-based capital.  It certainly has better PR value than intangible capital.  It may be useful in the interim.  But it does not yet provide the paradigm-shifting push that is needed to break through the standard mindset of technical codified knowledge being the only thing that matters.


Comment by Paul Hobcraft on November 8, 2013 at 4:51am


The question always become, how long do you continue to search for the right language? A life time? If we spend so much time pondering over what is not captured, adding more to what is, are we not in danger that it never happens, it stays a academic exercise or intellectual challenge. Let it loose and shape it as it goes!

If knowledge-based capital is close then we need to push this for greater adoption. You are right to concern yourself with relationship capital but maybe in the intervening years this has changes to network relational capital or social value adding capital.

I'm less on the strategic capital here, vital as it is, it flows from most of the others I would feel and is captured in different ways today, surely?

Implying formal codified but is it missing tacit knowledge- I'm not sure, you might know more than I do. But surely if we don't identify the enablers of tacit knowledge from knowledge capital or the Intellectual capitals then tacit remains 'out there'- difficult to relate too.

We just simply have far to many frameworks out there- there is no common approach- we keep avoiding this. Until you can get a high degree of conformity how can you explain this across the wider audience?

All frameworks count, each brings new insight and new angles but they compete for share of mind in those not so close to this.

It is not finding the right language it is finding a common language. A common voice that 'one' can unite behind to begin to lay in a foundation, that through adoption and learning moves into improved versions.

It is the community around Intellectual Assets that are actually holding it back. Surely that needs changing so driving 'something' that builds on this "Knowledge-based capital comes close" with a clear focus and intent can we see a common approach emerge to finally get this into mainstream, where it belongs, as "it" holds much back in unleashing our assets and solutions that can emerge from this understanding.

Comment by Kenan Jarboe on November 7, 2013 at 11:57am

Paul -- thanks for bringing this up. I strongly support the OECD work (see my earlier posting ( but I am not sure that we have yet found the right language.  Knowledge-based capital comes close.  But it seems to leave out other forms of intangible capital such as relational capital and strategic capital.  Likewise, it seems to imply formal codified knowledge - missing the important area of tacit knowledge.

So while the OECD work is a step forward, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to in terms of explaining the concepts further.  At this point, frameworks many be useful - including the ICounts framework.

On that note, I would point to the work of the International Integrated Reporting Consortium (see Nick's recent posting on a story in the Guardian - in creating what I see as a parallel framework to the ICounts version.

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