Smarter-Companies Finalist in International Case Study Competition!

I just got back from the European Conference on Knowledge Management (ECKM). The big driver for me was the first (as far as I know) case study competition for Intellectual Capital and Knowledge Management.

There were 78 applications to the competition. 40 were invited to submit full case studies. I was one of seven finalists who were asked to present at the conference.

Here’s the abstract for my case:

This paper describes an intangible capital (IC) assessment project at a software and services company. In the year prior to the project, the company experienced a small decline in annual revenue on the heels of ten years of rapid growth. This caused concern among the owner/managers. The company initiated this project to create a road map to spark new growth and also to think about how to build the long-term value of this privately-held company.

The project used an IC assessment as an initial diagnostic of the key drivers of growth and value. The main project steps were:

  • Workshop with management team to identify the company’s unique IC portfolio
  • Customization of a standard questionnaire to include these unique IC elements
  • Interviews of a 360-degree stakeholder sample that included managers, employees, customers and partners.
  • Presentation of findings to the team
  • Collaborative creation of an initiative road map
  • Design and implementation of key initiatives to effect change
  • Design of a set of more traditional metrics to monitor progress

The project used generic tools for survey data gathering, analysis and presentation. The use of IC language was very limited; rather than talk about human capital, for example, the focus was on employees and managers. The data were compelling enough to prompt a series of clear initiatives that did indeed spark a 27% increase in revenues in a little over a year. The principal challenges involved the design of a metric set to monitor the progress of the initiatives; it was hard to find KPI’s that gave as clear a read as the qualitative assessments.

This project became the foundation for tools that have since been used in a couple dozen other companies. The next step for the methodology is to more fully automate the assessment process and move from a model of assessment at a moment in time to a continuous on-line communication with stakeholders.

Here's the full case. I look forward to working with all our collaborators to develop more winning cases!!

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