ICounts Inventory


ICounts Inventory

What are the key intangibles driving your success?

The ICounts Inventory is an open source methodology for identifying the core intangible capital of an organization (see terms of use below).


These questions should ideally be answered through a collaborative discussion with key managers of the organization. We suggest writing each component of an answer on color-coded sticky notes that can be put on a wall or white board.


Question 1: What is your brand?

(Relationship Capital – blue sticky)

This is either your corporate name or the key brand that you support with your marketing. 

Question 2: Who are your customers?

(Relationship Capital – blue sticky)

Include all the major client groups you may have. For example, a software company in the healthcare space may have hospitals as well as other software companies as clients. Internal groups (such as IT, finance or accounting) have other internal business groups as clients. You may have critical stakeholders (such as users of freeware or community groups) that you you also consider to be "customers." For example, Google search users are critical stakeholders that need to be identified.



Question 3: What do you do to create value for your customers?

(Strategic Capital – lavender sticky)

Include both paid and unpaid activities. For example, Google’s search business creates value both through free search and through paid ads.



Question 4: What are the key processes and knowledge that support this value creation?

(Structural Capital – green sticky).

Include processes, key data sets, knowledge management and key intellectual property (especially patents). For example, in a software company, the software itself is part of structural capital as are business processes such as software lifecycle management, implementation and customer service. You may also want to list the key tangible assets that the company needs to support its operations.



Question 5: Who are the key partners that support the model?

(Relationship Capital – blue sticky).

Key partners usually support your value creation processes or your value delivery processes. These include suppliers but also other external organizations that are critical to your business. For example, an aircraft services company may have relationships with part suppliers, fuel suppliers, aircraft manufacturers and the FAA on the value creation side, and marketing and sales partners on the delivery side.



Question 6:  What are the key competencies your people need to support the model?

(Human Capital – yellow sticky) 

Focus on what your customers expect to generally experience with your employees. For example, a technical company may need specific technology capabilities as well as project management and troubleshooting skills.



Question 7: What are the key elements of the culture your organization needs to keep this system working?

(Strategic Capital – lavender sticky) 

Here, include elements that should be there for everything to work well. For example, a high-risk business needs a detail-oriented culture while a social media firm may need an open culture.


This ICounts Inventory provides a clear list of the intangibles that make up 80% of the value of the average business. It is a great starting point for a measurement or a strategic project. It also helps create a map of how different parts of your organization can and should work together (see mapping techniques in ICounts Visualizations).

We use it to create a shared understanding with organizations about the system that drives their success. Putting names (and later measures) to these components quickly makes for tangible intangibles.

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 Inventory methodology 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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