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The role of Intangibles in Russian firms

Our paper "Bridging the gap in competitiveness of Russian companies with intangible bricks" is already available in Measuring Business Excellence.

In this paper, we analyse the difference of competitiveness between European and Russian companies considering the role of intangibles. We have found a significant difference in the means of competitiveness between European and Russian enterprises. Moreover, we have found a robust negative trend in the global competitiveness of Russian companies, despite a number of positive conjunctural shifts in favour of Russian local production – appreciation of the rouble, together with measures of protective governmental policy. We can assert that there is a gap in the competitiveness between Russian and European companies, and that this gap is more significant in the manufacturing, construction, services and financial sectors.

We hope that this study can help to understand better Russian firms and how they should reduce the gap in the endowment of intangibles.

We would appreciate all kind of comments.

The reference is:

Elena Shakina, Angel Barajas & Mariya Molodchik , (2017)," Bridging the gap in competitiveness of Russian companies with intangible bricks ", Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 21 Iss 1 pp. - Permanent link to this document:

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Intangible Capital – Analysis versus Synthesis

10468395480?profile=originalJay Deragon had a great post last week on analysis versus synthesis. His points are really well taken and directly applicable to the challenges of intangible capital management.


Intangible capital includes a broad range of asset that all have as their basis, in one way or another, knowledge, learning and connection--things like people, data, systems, processes, networks, relationships, intellectual property, culture, business models are all part of intangible capital.


If you ask a manager if they are managing their intangible assets and show them a list, the answer is “of course I’m managing them.”  But the truth is that in most cases, intangibles are being managed as individual items or systems according to traditional org charts (sales, marketing, human resources, IT, operations, etc).


The right question is whether intangible capital is being managed as a system. This holistic, systemic view of intangibles fits the definition that Jay cited of synthesis:


Synthesis (from the ancient Greek) is used in many fields, usually to mean a process which combines two or more pre-existing elements and results in something new.


This is the thinking that we need in business today. We can’t view separate parts of an organization in isolation. We need to be able to see the big picture and understand how this system works.


A similar sentiment was outlined in a great article about the Secrets of the Flux Leader in Fast Company late last year that quoted John Landgraf from FX Networks:


"When I say we need a smarter organization, I mean we need multiple, different kinds of brains, of intelligence, on topics, rather than just specialists," Landgraf says.


*For a world of constant change, a company needs widespread mental plasticity. "In the old-style economy, where objects tend to remain in place, you could segment these types of intelligence. So you put your crazy intuitive people in marketing and your analytic people in engineering," he explains. "But as we've moved to an economy in which the adoption of new ideas happens so fast, you need all kinds of intelligence in all parts of a business. You can't have people siloed in their particular areas of strength. You have to value all styles, because you will never know which type will solve a problem."


This systemic view is harder today than in the past because most of the action is going on inside computer systems and peoples’ heads. You can’t walk through a factory and see exactly what’s going on.


So we need new management models. To be successful, an organization also needs to create a shared vision at a system level of how knowledge and connection are created and leveraged by your organization.


Use your intangible thinking to take the knowledge that already exists in your organization’s network and create something completely altogether new and very, very powerful.


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I have been receiving notices of newly published content from the MIT, Center for Information Systems and Research (CISR). A new report on an apparent turnaround in organizational operation at the SEC caught my eye. Given my roots in knowledge management, promotion of collaborative methods and practices, and Smarter-Companies' focus on intangible capital it seems a natural fit for us to care about what the SEC is doing to safeguard investor assets.

Apparently, in 2009 a new Chairman of the SEC, Mary Shapiro, was appointed and took on the role of reforming the institutional practices that resulted in lax oversight of operators such as Bernie Madoff. By 2012, Shapiro was able to report successful institutional practices had been implemented to meet her goal, "...a transformation from paper-based, localized operations to a more collaborative environment with specialized expertise and the ability to quickly identify and address activities that threatened financial stability or investor well-being. The transformation required standardizing some core processes, introducing new organizational roles and responsibilities, implementing a modern technology base, and cultivating a new mindset about how to use and share data."

For the story and lessons learned, please read this study:

Working Paper 388: The US Securities and Exchange Commission: Working Smarter to Protect Investors and Ensure Efficient Markets; by Barb Wixom and Jeanne W Ross; Nov 30, 2012. Link: You will need to create an account to download the study but it is well worth the read and great to learn that entrenched enterprises can change for the better. Be sure to go to the end where the use of social networking tools to see securities and investor relationship are brought into visual focus for the reader.



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