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 that shine through:
Intangibles Focus – Knowledge intangibles are at the core of how value is created in today’s economy. This includes the knowledge in peoples’ heads and in re-usable forms (process, software, data, designs, etc.). Companies that recognize the growing importance of knowledge in these many forms have moved beyond industrial-era approaches to management and measurement so they can focus on the knowledge that can give them a competitive advantage.
Sense of Purpose – Access to and use of knowledge is a collaborative, collective effort. The amount of knowledge available to an organization—and the value it can create—is directly related to its ability to attract employees, partners and customers who share its mission. Purpose involves elements of both profit and prosperity. Companies that recognize the relationship between attraction and collaboration embed this purpose in what they do, how they do it, and how they tell their story.
Social Measurement – Traditional financial and quantitative approaches fall short in measuring the strength and performance of knowledge, collaboration and innovation. The use of social, qualitative measures is on the rise. It’s already used commonly for knowledge products like books, services like hotels and restaurants, and even for employers. Companies that recognize the importance of intangibles, attraction and collaboration spend time listening from the outside-in, not just measuring from the inside-out. They are turning measurement into a collaborative, social process.
Does this list speak to you? I welcome your feedback!