CONSULTING SERVICES IN INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
Bill Elkington’s purpose in creating his consulting firm, Mind IC LLC, is to help companies improve the financial performance of their intellectual capital. The approach is to support development of business policies, business processes, and intellectual capital rights (and intangible products and services) valuation expertise to address a variety of common business issues in intellectual capital management. Typically, this work will require enterprise change. To help accomplish this change, Mind IC will also help with education, communication, organizational design, tools, metrics, audit, and change management (alignment—in the first instance—of the company’s leadership with the proposed change).
In addition, Mind IC consults on the development of intellectual capital rights strategies to support a company’s business strategies and on the improvement of many other business processes in a company’s management of its intellectual capital.
Mind IC can help with the establishment and operational excellence of an enterprise business function to lead a company’s work in intellectual capital management. Such a function is described in some detail in Bill’s book, Mind IC: Notes on Intellectual Capital Management. A cadre of business experts in the field of intellectual capital management can be vital to enterprises realizing significant improvements in the financial performance of their intellectual capital.
Finally, Mind IC LLC provides consulting services in specific projects related to transaction strategies and negotiations, business process design, development, and implementation, valuation of intellectual capital rights, risk assessments, audits, standards, best practices, metrics, tools, and other related matters in the field of intellectual capital management.
Consulting services provided by Mind IC LLC are, first of all, tailored especially to companies that are caught in supply chain relationships and other business partner relationships in which their intellectual capital can unnecessarily be put at risk. This risk has several common sources:
- Business partners (e.g., customers, suppliers, co-development partners, and government agencies) and prospective partners may attempt to coerce or cajole intellectual capital rights away and consequently drain sales and/or profits away in the process of contracting for products and services
- Business partners (e.g., customers, suppliers, co-development partners, and government agencies) and prospective partners may attempt to misuse a company’s intellectual capital without the company knowing about it (in contravention to negotiated agreements)
- A company’s technical and business teams may end up sharing more intellectual capital than the business partner needs
- And this can put more intellectual capital at risk than needs to be put at risk
- The company’s business partner may not use best practices to manage its intellectual capital and its business partner’s intellectual capital, putting the company’s intellectual capital at risk of theft and misuse by an insider or by others outside the partner’s enterprise
Second, Mind IC LLC’s consulting services are aimed at helping companies whose technical and business teams may end up inadvertently placing inadequate internal controls on access to the company’s or a third party’s intellectual capital.
Third, Mind IC LLC’s consulting services are customized to help companies that find themselves in business partner transactions in which intellectual capital rights (ownership, joint ownership, or license rights) are at the heart of the matter, but who have little-to-no expertise in valuing (putting a dollar value on) these rights. Negotiations in such circumstances are not usually focused on the dollar value of the equities involved, but rather on other more qualitative factors. This practice can put the value of a company’s intellectual capital in jeopardy. If a company engages in many such transactions with its business partners, it may stand to lose substantial intellectual capital value over time, if it does not develop and effectively deploy in-house intellectual capital valuation expertise.
Fourth, Mind IC LLC consulting services can help some companies that have historically been hardware-centric in their product offerings and are now finding themselves offering intangible-based products and services, such as software, software as a service, information, information as a service, and access services of various kinds. Such companies’ hardware-based pricing models are of less and less use, in a world in which companies must price a growing catalog of intangible products and services. Without expertise in valuing intellectual capital rights, they are at risk of leaving substantial value unrealized.