Fueling Intellectual Assets

When I wrote my first book, My Cup Runneth Over: Setting Goals for Single Parents and Working Couples, it took me two months to write and less than a year to get published (it normally takes 18 months to three years to get published).  People were amazed at my publishing accomplishments.

My world was transformed, from being a little unknown engineer in Tennessee to being a respected expert and quoted by USA Today and Ebony Magazine.  It provided a great avenue for influencing others across the country and the world.  Additionally, it provided me with a more diverse portfolio of passive income and revenue.  In the greater scheme of thinking, I found out that my new platform was centered, not on the physical book—but on the creation of intellectual assets. 

As organizations contend with global competition, many businesses will need to rethink their strategies for sustainability in the knowledge and innovation economy.  Across the nation, companies are depending more on freelance workers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of workers placed by temporary staffing agencies rose by 404,000 since September 2010. Furthermore, many gifted, laid-off workers are forced to become independent contractors and freelancers.  According to the Freelancer Union, 18% of its members were forced to give up health insurance in 2009 while 39% cut back coverage.  This trend is reshaping America’s workforce.

Yet, value creation will be the key to opening endless opportunities for today’s businesses.  We complain about the rate of manufacturing jobs going abroad and how this reality impacts the quality of living. Perhaps the future will be ruled not by the tangible but the intangible.  In fact, the knowledge economy will wreak havoc on traditional thinking. 

 

Thomas Davenport and Kevin Desouza, intellectual strategists, argue the importance of organizations understanding their intellectual assets: “In the industrial economy, a key component of mass production and productivity—and hence economic growth—was the reuse of physical assets: molds, templates, castings and so forth.  Although so much of the economy is now based on intellectual assets, we have yet to achieve a similar level of reuse and productivity improvement for that class of asset.”  In this discussion, we will look at how intellectual assets will fuel the future.

Henrik Vejlgaard, author of Anatomy of a Trend, argues that emerging trends are influenced by gifted people, including entrepreneurs, designers, and artists.  Vejlgaard notes that these people “create new products or invent new styles or begin doing something in a completely new way.”  In the old days, creative people were the butt of jokes pertaining to finding sustainable employment.  

Yet, the future will belong to just these people, as many organizations across the world will need this asset to enhance their survivability.  Fueling the knowledge economy will be knowledge creation (intellectual asset creation) and knowledge management (intellectual asset management).

An important ingredient for the knowledge economy is the creation, use, storage, and positioning of an organization’s intellectual assets.  Intellectual assets are valuable elements created by human ingenuity: written documents, software, musical compositions, and other intellectual spin-offs.  Intellectual assets can be divided into two categories, product assets and process assets.  Product assets are the specific outputs of knowledge work such as software programs or legal briefs.  

In contrast, process assets are codified knowledge about how to perform a task such as manufacturing steps for a new product.  Some countries have already realized the critical value of intellectual assets.  In May 2004, the Ministerial Council in France studied how intellectual assets impacted value creation, growth, and economic performance.  The study noted, “The continuous shift toward a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy has brought to the forefront the issue of how knowledge is created, disseminated, retained and used to obtain economic returns.”

Intellectual assets will place individuals at the center stage of wealth creation across the globe.  Today, traditional publishers struggle to stay in business as the world has been overrun by knowledge creation.  Many experts will argue that the Big 6 (Random House, Inc., Penguin Putnam, HarperCollins, Holtzbrinck, Time Warner, and Simon & Schuster) dominate the publishing world.  Yet, the world is changing.  

According to a Para Publishing study, traditional publishers are in trouble.  In 2004, more than 1.8 million books were in print.  A new book is published every 30 seconds.  With challenges from the global economies, digital publishing models, and industry standard changes, major publishers are bombarded with changes that impact their bottom-line.  In 2002, major publishers decreased output by 5% yet titles published rose by 6%. 

What is driving the publishing industry now?  It is independent publishers and literary entrepreneurs emerging in this digital age.  In fact, 70% of the titles are now coming from small or self-publishers. In the digital age, individuals can transform one idea into multiple formats including paper back, hardcover, MP3 files, DvD, and other downloadable files.  Therefore, knowledge creators are building an empire of intellectual assets.  Websites like Createspace.com and Lulu.com give individuals the power to create wealth while building influence effortlessly.

What modifications will need to be made in the publishing model to incorporate intellectual assets created by entrepreneurs? How can organizations take advantage of these gifted creators in their organizations and still fully control their knowledge management processes?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

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26 thoughts on “Fueling Intellectual Assets

  1. I believe these intellectually gifted people will re-create the publishing industry to fit their own model. If the “Big 6” is not willing to adapt and include these innovators then they will eventually cease to exist. The fittest and most innovative of species will eventually overtake the inferior (1). I believe in this situation you could apply the concept of “Darwinism” to the publishing company and their industry. Even as entrepreneurs are included in the culture and the publishing model their intellect will exceed that of “old style” publishing companies thus creating a need for the gifted to move past and separate themselves from the barriers that are holding them from greatness. This is simply part of the process. New ideas come along that cause change. In this case the world of “paper” is obsolete and the companies who do not recognize this will also be.

    Reference:

    Bege, Micheal. J. The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism. June, 2008

  2. Well first I believe we need to bring back the love of reading to the current youth at hand. We have become so obsessed with the use of technology that we barely read anything at all let alone a good book. One of the main reasons I believe this is a growing issue is the reliability we have on the net for everything. For example I remember having to actually read books for book reports, however today’s students find cheat sheets online to read, and manage to go through their entire college careers without having read a single page on paper. It is important for parents and teachers to promote and encourage students the value of reading books. Because at the rate of book publication declining so will the future of potential intellectuals who write those books will decline as well. Parents and educators must make reading interesting as well as hopeful so that their children wish to come back to it.

    Reference:
    http://www.educationask.com/home-schooling/57-Home-Schooling.html

    • I agree with Riyam 100%. Where do we draw the bottom line to say enough is enough and start getting back to the basics? The basics, like actually reading a book, is what got us to this point in the first place? These blog enters are a great example of how books are on the downward slope. Even Dr. Green allowed us to read articles from the internet, instead of actually reading a magazine or newspaper article or a book about the many different subjects we must blog about. However, I do feel that the internet can reach so many more individuals about a cause, with new technology, and with learning possibilities, where a book can only be read if you check it out of the public library or purchase it.

      I can remember having to do research with actually books, newspapers, and magazine articles. This takes time, and as much as we don’t like to admit it, we live in a world obsessed with saving time. I feel that is what will make the difference in the future for the production process of books. Because time is money and everyone wants to save both time and money, and what better way to start then by reading an article on line for free instead of purchasing it at a much higher amount. In the long run society’s intellectual assets will not be worth very much because the knowledge (input) will not return (output) students and/or employees with a higher order of thinking skills.

    • I agree that people need to get back to a basic understanding of the working world. I do not mean that people should forget everything they have learned, but they could learn more blue-color skills. There are so many people in today’s workforce that have trouble writing a paper. That should never be an issue in no matter what field you work in. Well skilled, usually well educated, workers often join unions. 15.1 million workers were members of a union in 2009. Only 7.4 million union workers were in the private sector, as opposed to 7.9 million union members in the private sector. These groups are highly skilled individuals that can band together. They pass on their knowledge to the future workers. Unions are one of the last great sources of knowledge resources this country has left.

      http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm

  3. In the article, Wrangling over Intellectual Property, Frank L. Hubard speaks to the subject that has grown large as companies and universities are more and more finding themselves at the negotiation table over ownership, licensing, royalties and a number of other concerns surrounding intellectual property. Frank stated that “many companies feel if they’ve funded the research, they should have exclusive and sole rights to all the resulting intellectual property. Universities respond that the contracted research builds on years of prior research at the university not funded by the company. Lack of agreement over such issues has caused Corporate America to seek solutions elsewhere, in some cases taking its research proposals to foreign schools”. I think one possible solution to this would be to set up a publishing, copyright royalty process that would reward the creative people for their hard work. This type of system has worked very well in the music world. When someone plays a song on in this case uses the protected material they pay a small fee in the form of royalty that goes to the creator of the material. This would reward the creators and let the companies use the material for the betterment of their business.

    Frank L Huband. (2006). Wrangling Over Intellectual Property. ASEE Prism, 15(6), 5. Retrieved October 18, 2010, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 988436511).

    • Good discussion all!

      Derrick, excellent comments on the process!!!!

      Let’s go deeper.

      If we are creating intellectual assets,.which are intangile and tangile or neither(aka physical books versus e-books), how do organizations design such a process to be both efficent and effective?

      Yet, people are not robots. How do knowledge creators exist in such an environment?

  4. In Cat Rambo’s article “Thoughts on Electronic Publishing Vs. Traditional Print Publishing” she as many other authors believe that the traditional publishing process will eventually be replaced with online and electronic publishing (1). The reason for this is that it is much quicker than traditional publishing, and authors can have full control of what they want published without the influence of editors and others that are involved in the traditional process. Cat has published work both ways and believes that the traditional publishers are doomed in the future. With this being said, in order for the “Big 6” to continue they must to begin to do some type of electronic publishing as well. This has worked in the music world and it is evident that people are willing to pay for information online, so the “Big 6” needs to incorporate electronic publishing at some level before it is too late. Although I do not believe that traditional books will be obsolete in the near future, I do believe that authors will become increasingly frustrated in the traditional process therefore in order for them to survive they must find some type of balance between electronic and traditional publishing.

    Resource:
    Rambo, Cat. “Guest Post–Revolution #9: Thoughts on Electronic Publishing Vs. “Traditional” Print Publishing.” SFWA. 27 July 2010. Web. 19 Oct. 2010. .

  5. Organizations must hire and keep the best and the brightest employees. They do this by determining what needs they must fill and by finding the places that produce that type of person. Often gifted or highly intelligent people are not well liked by fellow employees. This is for many reasons that Susan Van Vleet brings up in her seminars. She mentions that most people do not understand what comes with the package of giftedness. Consequently motives and behaviors are misunderstood and responses of managers are often counter-productive (1). These high achievers are often seen as being aloof, argumentative, arrogant, or condescending. You take advantage of these type of people at the same time you praise your other employees when they do their job or duties well. You make everyone feel important and that they are playing a role in the success of the company. Good managers can do this and create a harmonious work environment among all intellectual levels.

    http://interfaceconsultingonline.com/products/Interface_SmartPeople.pdf

  6. I just read Matt Johnson and Derrick Proffitt’s responses on 10/19. They stole my thunder in comparing this to the music industry, but they did say it first 🙂

    Traditional publishers are not doomed; they simply need to adjust to this disruptive technology and how it is changing the market. Organizations must consider the evolving nature of the most critical component: the consumer. In the music industry everyone has emerged from buying CDs to downloading MP3s or streaming music. Now readers (customers) are finding it easier, quicker, and cheaper to download or read online. As a matter of fact, I was planning on buying my wife a Kindle from Amazon this Christmas so she can download books. How can organizations take advantage of consumers like me? They are already starting too. In Copeland’s article THE END OF PAPER? he discusses how Hearst Corp has developed a reader similar to the Kindle from Amazon designed especially for periodicals. Several publishers are excited about the potential widespread use because they will find a means of charging for content presented on the internet, as well as increasing internet advertising revenues. Go back to the music industry. Now musicians cut contracts to have their music available on iTunes as a priority over CDs. The same thing is happening in the publishing industry.

    Resource:
    Copeland, M. (2009). THE END OF PAPER?. Fortune, 159(5), 66-72. Retrieved from Business Source Premier database.

  7. Createspace.com excites the writer, songwriter or screenplay writer through thorough step-by-step informational web pages from creating the perfect cover to marketing strategies. But wait! Where is the step-by-step guide to protecting my intellectual property? To effectively address the needs of entrepreneurs who desire to publish their trade secrets or creative solutions to the industry/organization problems, the publishing industry must educate and support the legal protection of the intellectual property holder. The online self-publishing company has been successful at demystifying the publishing world in general. It needs to go one step further to demystify the complex and intimidating legal process of trade marking, intellectual property, copywriting, and patenting (Jassin). A focus and education directed toward the entrepreneur in an easy-to-understand and navigate format must be added to the repertoire of self-publishing websites.

    Jassin, L. (n.d.). Fair use in a nutshell: a practical guide to fair use. Retrieved from http://www.copylaw.com/

  8. I believe that organizations need to become more open to technology in general not just Intellectual assests, more electronical devices are becoming more popular, i-books and audiobooks are gaining momentum. There are websites soley dedicated to Intellectual Assest and how to further your business not just in US but across the World. With the ever growing technology based products we as humans want any and everything at the touch of our fingertips from ordering grocery’s online to buying a home. Although Intellectual Assests are important if a company has a great product the consumer will find and buy it regardless of the appearance

  9. A lot of modifications will be needed over the next 20 years from now because the world around us is changing drastically. Today we already have iBooks on iPhone and iPad, Kindle from Amazon, and at least a dozen new tablets (e.g. Notion Ink Adam tablet or HP Slate) coming out in the near future which will change the way publishing is done today. I personally after reading this article thought of an idea that imagine if there was a device that I could put on top of a book and it scans all the pages one by one and makes an electronic book out of it and I can just walk in Dr. Green’s class with my iPad and not worry about having a book with me. I am sure someone already is working on an idea like this because it will save a lot of money by allowing people not to buy books, just borrow them from friends and make it electronic. The point of it is that printed books will seize to exist if not a few decades then possibly couple of centuries later. To further prove my point consider the fact that more than 90% of people around the world are listening to pirated music and over the years it has only grown regardless of the efforts made by the music industry. Today we can download songs even from You Tube using a simple one click software and this is how I see the future of the paper books.

    Resources:
    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/foremski/analysis-from-e-media-to-i-media-how-apple-will-dominate-all-digital-media-sales/1085

  10. This blog reminds me of our News Sentinel operations tour we took earlier in the semister. The grim reality of traditional publishing is a lot like the future reality of newspaper printing. For traditional publishing companies to make it in the 21st century, the major publishing companies must revamp their business model. According to zacks.com publishing companies are rushing to slash costs, suspension of benefits, and offering early retirement. The major publishing companies are now even moving to charge readers for online content called, “Pay as you access.” Also, there must be a fundamental thought change from the amount of copies distributed to the amount of material that reaches the target audience. Publishing companies face a rapidly changing future. If these firms do not adapt and change then they will find that the internet will grab a larger portion of the marketshare and will leave publishing companies with a negative cash flow.

    Sources:
    http://www.zacks.com/stock/news/36514/Publishing+Industry+Review+and+Outlook+-+July+2010

  11. I agree with Chris’s discussion on what is in store for the future of publishing. Publishing is definitely being forced toward the intangible aspect of e books and the internet. The explosive popularity of the IPAD and other e- reader/ tablet devices proves this. The grim outlook of the operations manager at the News Sentinel towards the newspaper industry and the company being forced to diversify as much as possible to stay profitable. There is a revolution occurring in the publishing industry and companies must find new ways to get their product to the market in order to stay competitive. An article I found titled “The future of publishing takes shape”, acknowledges the arrival of a digital evolution in publishing. The author basically states that at this time it is going to be easier for new comers to enter the publishing industry with the ability to steal business, but also, that if the current publishing companies are able to adapt successfully they will continue to dominate.

    Reference; http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2010/oct/05/future-of-publishing

  12. The publishing industry has encountered many changes over the past years, but this has been the case for many industries with the changes in technology and buyer taste for products.Internet, e-books, electronic editing and emergence of online subscription business models have all irreversibly changed the publishing landscape. Changes in the industry help publishers save time and money, and it also allows publishers to publish all information quicker and at a much lower cost. Emergence of electronic commerce and the ensuing efforts to digitalize publication has expedited the process of publishing virtually any kind of publishing material from newspapers to databases, in addition to reduction in cost of binding, distribution, printing, shipping and warehousing.
    On-line publishing is gaining in importance given the potential of this platform to reach wider audiences throughout the world. Key influences on the publishing industry are economic environment, lifestyle trends, population growth, purchasing power, ethnic diversity and age composition, education standards and foreign trade. Electronic publishing or on-line publishing is the fast catching popular medium for publishing books, newspapers, magazines and other types of publications.
    http://www.sramanamitra.com/…/opportunity-within-the-long-tail-of-book-authors-iuniverse-ceo-kevin-weiss-part-1/

  13. Hello!, Very interest angle, we were talking about the same thing at work and found your site very stimulating. So felt compelled to com?ment a little thank you for all your effort. Please keep up the great work your doing!

  14. The traditional publishing model has large barriers of entry including its affordability that prevent the average person from being able to gain intellectual property. There is a vibrant shift to self publishing spearheaded by the digital age where information is readily available and all people can become experts through extensive internet searches. With the widespread access to information, it is easy for information to be disseminated, but the question is how to protect it and ensure the author receives credit. The website Ohiolink.edu shows an international effort to get peer reviewed articles into a database that could be accessible to the masses. This would protect the author’s intellectual property and make sure all credible documents are secured. For corporations, the problem is slightly different. Companies that do not equip themselves with an intellectual asset management strategy are severely crippling their chances of survival in the highly competitive free market. IAM can be conducted through outside contractors or through an internal manager. Companies that do not take advantage of implementing an IAMS are subject to problems which are attributed to inevitable disclosure, a lack of documentation, and no clear strategy for upholding them. Until business owners realize the importance of intellectual property and unite to set industry guidelines, the problem will continue to exist.

    http://www.ohiolink.edu/journalcrisis/intellproprecsaug06.pdf
    http://www.1000ventures.com/business_guide/ipr/ip_startup_howtoprotect_bysvf.html
    http://www.iam-magazine.com/IPStrategists/Editorial/Detail.aspx?g=cd9d1660-104f-4064-9814-302841b8c7ad

  15. The future of publishing has arrived. Jeff Bezos’s Amazon has exemplified the means of how to implement this arrival into a massive cash flow unit. Amazon has utilized the practice of selling e-books at prices cheaper than the industry’s standards of hardcover/paperback, and the authors and readers have both benefited respectively. It then only makes sense that mainstream publishing houses collude in an effort to expand their library and generate more revenue. With e-books, there is more than the general book market – there is room for short stories, magazines, academic journals and so forth.

    But the most rewarding factor of the e-book mania comes in the form of potential educational purposes such as BookServer, a project Brewster Kahle is working on. The project consitutes that a university’s central server keeps track of a single electronic copy of a textbook, allowing students to read the e-copy when the paper copy is checked out. I’m sure many of us could find this very useful. As long as people don’t do away with reading completely, I’m all in favor of digital publishing.

    Reference:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2010/09/06/william-gibson-on-the-future-of-book-publishing/

  16. A recent article by the law office of Sebastian Gibson a California publishing attorney discusses changes affecting the publishing industry.

    Some large publishing houses have been laying off their employees as sells decline, while some of the decline is due to the economy some of the publishing houses are failing due to errors in selecting manuscripts for publishing. While mainstream publishing houses might use a greater amount of caution while selecting new authors during these troubling economic times, many up and coming authors can spotlight their talents by working with independent publishing houses who will take advantage of opportunities to work with new authors.

    Authors need to be mindful that their works might not be printed in traditional hard back form. However with the gain in popularity of e-readers and audio books success as an author is still an obtainable goal. This new form of reading media often results in a book being introduced to the marketplace in a shorter time frame. New technologies tend to help an industry rather than hurt it. This form of distribution will probably help the industry to become more flexible and reach a wider audience.

    References:
    Retrieved from: http://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=6768

  17. I like the where the current trend in the publishing industry is taking us. With the growth of technology fueling the exchange of knowledge and fewer barriers to entry in the publishing industry, up-and-coming creatives are finally getting to compete on a level field. We truly are in the information age. But, with such a plethora of knowledge so easily accessible, we face new challenges. Companies now have to safeguard their intellectual assets in order to ensure their knowledge creators get their fair compensation. We are going to see tremendous growth in the intellectual property securitization industry. Trademarks and patents will become an increasingly important artist’s tool in the fight to retain and profit from both individual and company intellectual assets.

    Reference:
    Kramer, W. J., & Patel, C. B. Securitisation of intellectual property assets in the US market. Gerstein & Borun, Retrieved November 21, 2010, from http://www.ipo.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Business_Issues&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=22950

  18. The ipad and other tablets could present a source of some circulation revenue growth for newspapers. Paul Gillin, a social marketing consultant and author of the Newspaper Death Watch blog suggests that, in time, apps could be a “significant revenue stream” as the platform grows. He says that newspaper companies are wary of falling into the same trap they did when free online versions of their papers debuted, making it hard for a pay structure to be introduced at a later date.”

    “The iPad definitely provides a valuable platform for newspapers to engage their readers in a new way and, in many cases, to appeal to a different set of readers,” says Dena Levitz, manager of digital strategies for the Newspaper Association of America. Mobile is going to be a growth area going forward, and tablets are one exciting subset of that larger trend. At our tour of the KNS they discussed new ways of circulating their newspapers and how they are very open-minded. In this day all forms of print are going to need to continue to think out of the box.

    Is the iPad Really the Savior of the Publishing Industry? Retrieved from: http://blog.mediaideas.net/2010/10/22/is-the-ipad-really-the-savior-of-the-publishing-industry/

  19. Given the current trend of online usage and its slatted expansion, it is in the interest of publishing companies to keep pace with or out perform the evolution occurring within the industry. To this point, most have managed to come to terms with these matters. However, they have not been so successful in fending off smaller organizations. It appears as if their competitors have been successful because they have provided an avenue to circumvent the exclusivity of the Big 6. Consequently, I would suggest that these organizations quickly counter with the birth of affiliate companies that render the same services.

    As far a harnissing and managing gifted creators, I would advise organizations to do away with the A-typical interoffice politics. They have corrupted the lateral movement capabilities of many and continue to disenfranchise those who are well dissevering. This has and will continue to crush employees’ entrepreneurial spirit. In so much, it is essential that employees be rewarded based upon the assests they bring to the organization.

    References
    DeSimone, L., Hatsopoulos, G., O’Brien, W., Harris, B., & Holt, C. (1995). How Can Big Companies Keep the Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive?. Harvard Business Review, 73(6), 183-189.

  20. Intellectual assets include trade secrets, inventions, proprietary information, product formulas, manufacturing processes, new product plans, packaging specifications, research, test methods, business plans, customer lists, and ideas [1]. Intellectual assets management (IAM) is challenging due to the subjective nature associated with this asset. “Intellectual asset management provides a systematic approach for turning ideas and information into intellectual property and profit [1]”. According to Naomi Fine, billions of dollars in revenues are generated from intellectual assets that are identified, managed and licensed through corporate IAM programs [1]. One way to control knowledge management process is to obtain patents on intellectual assets. The value of the patents is derived from product innovations and revenues it generates. Ralph Schroeder’s article explains that there have been more than 7 million patents issued in the United States since 1836 and greater than 30% were issued between 1997 and 2007 [2]. Electronic systems that allow employees to submit new ideas are a way organizations can control knowledge management. Incentive structures that reward employees for disclosure in specifically identified strategic areas or projects can also allow companies to control knowledge management [2].

    [1] Naomi R. Fine, Esq., President, Pro-Tec Data – Intellectual Asset Mangaement: From Information to Intellectual Property to Profit

    [2] Ralph Schroeder, Patent Strategy & Management – Best Practices, Productivity Tools Are Key to Higher Patent Returns

  21. Publishers today face many challenges as independent publishers have been increasingly popular. Today’s technology has also greatly changed the old fashioned publishing methods. Although print publishing will never be extinct, the new age of publishing has gone digital. These large publishing companies will need to stay current in technology trends. These companies will also need change their strategy by finding a niche and concentrate on more value added services. Offering book contracts to CEO’s and entrepreneurs around the country to publish through their company could give them a plethora of information on the intellectual property these individuals posses. These contracts would also allow the companies fully control the knowledge management process.
    (1) Jassin, L. J. (n.d.). WHAT NOT TO MISS WHEN DRAFTING & NEGOTIATING YOUR BOOK PUBLISHING CONTRACT. In copylaw.com. Retrieved November 23, 2010

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