Harvesting Intangible Assets
Uncover Hidden Revenue in Your Company's Intellectual Property
Author: Andrew J. Sherman
Pub Date: October 2011
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814434987
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814417003
Buy the book:
The Intellectual Capital Agrarian
Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so
much to so many in such a short period of time.
We are all farmers.
We mark our turf. We protect our property. We plant our
seeds. We nurture the soil. We plow our land. We combat
adverse weather and ecosystem conditions and overcome adversities.
We prepare for our harvest. We carefully remove the frost
from the vine. We hope for the best and prepare for the worst
as the market sets a price for our efforts. We embrace the notion
that our results will be directly tied to our levels of effort and
expertise. We begin anew.
No matter what your profession, no matter what your company
does, no matter what your life situation may be—we all
follow this fundamental and deeply rooted agricultural process in
some way throughout the days of our lives. We are all the new
agrarians. But do we recognize ourselves as such? Have we
learned from the successes and failures of the agrarian economies
that preceded us? Can we learn to apply the traditional as well
as the latest best practices of farming to our daily lives and in
the growth of our companies? How can we make our lives more
enjoyable and enriching and our companies more productive and
profitable by adopting an agrarian approach to life planning, time
management, resource allocation, innovation harvesting, and
business model reshaping?
Consider the following questions as they apply to your life
and to your business:
- Have you carefully selected a territory that is fertile for
growth and right for your type of crop?
- Do you understand the dynamics of your ecosystem?
- Have you done everything in your power to properly nurture
the soil and enhance the land’s ability to produce?
- What seeds will you plant, and why?
- Are you ready to invest the time and energy to care for these
seeds once planted?
- Whom will you hire to help you raise, harvest, and sell the
produce at your farm?
- What tools, resources, and expertise will you require to
maximize the fruits of your harvest?
- What adverse weather or market conditions must you
overcome to be successful?
- Who else is growing these same crops? How does their experience
compare to your own?
- Do you have a keen sense for the cycles and timetables that
will optimize your harvest?
- What is your game plan for bringing your crops to the
marketplace? Will you do it alone or join with others?
- What are your distribution channels, and who are your target
customers? On what basis and criteria will they select your
harvest rather than others’? On the basis of price? Quality?
- How will you allocate the revenues that this year’s harvest
will bring? Have you performed a sensitivity analysis based on
high/expected/low target ranges?
- What steps need to be put in place to set the stage for
beginning the process again?
- What have you learned from the successes and failures of last
year’s process to make next year even better?
Each of these questions must be answered by every type of
farmer every year in every country around the world. Every year,
they ‘‘bet the farm,’’ overcoming the challenges of the wind, sun,
drought, floods, and other conditions beyond their control to put
food on all of our tables. But the questions also apply to each of
us—in the growth and development of our companies and as
applied to the growth and development of ourselves as humans
and as an evolving society. And, just as with farming, if we care
for the soil and harvest properly, we produce value. If we overwork
or overtax the farm and add too many pesticides over too
much irrigation, the outputs will be limited and potentially dangerous.
Farmers who strive to perfect this process and to learn from
the successes and failures of each year’s harvest enjoy financial
stability and wealth creation. They work hard to control the
variables that are in their power and develop contingency plans
around the variables that they can’t control. They see the crops
as an extension of themselves and are happy as they see them
grow and progress. They enjoy the process and connect with the
land in a spiritual way. But at the very core and soul of their
existence is the relationship between themselves and their land
and between their tools and their seeds and between the quality
of their harvest and the dynamics of the marketplace.
In building companies and fostering innovation, we must all
embrace these same principles. We must put conditions in place
that support a corporate culture likely to yield a productive harvest
and be constantly planting the seeds of creativity, encouragement,
curiosity, empathy, respect, challenge, and fulfillment. We
must understand which tools will be most effective for reinforcing
the underlying principles of this culture. We must take steps
to manage the conditions that are within our control and develop
‘‘Plan Bs’’ for those that we can’t. Most important, we must fully
invest in the growth and development of our human capital by
providing education and training to our teams at all levels to
teach how to become farmers inside our companies and in their
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