posted 18 May 2005 in Volume 8 Issue 8
Knowledge advisory centre: The knowledge economy is a reality
by Debra M. Amidon
People are no longer asking ‘if’ intellectual capital is important; rather, they are asking ‘how’ we might harness the intellectual capital of our companies, nations and society as a whole. Answers are surfacing, and at least now we are asking some of the right questions.
Indeed, the economics of the Knowledge Age are raising important questions; questions that deal with individuals, organisations, communities and policy makers on the border of the innovation-based society that is characterised by an increasing degree of stakeholder interaction and high sustainability intensity. Three principles of knowledge dynamics appear to have emerged:
Knowledge is the limitless and expandable source of economic wealth;
Value is created when knowledge moves from point of origin to point of need or use;
Collaboration for mutual leverage – synergistic win/win – provides optimal utilisation of assets, both tangible and intangible.
Over the past decade, we have witnessed an explosion of IC-focused doctoral theses, dedicated research centres, international conferences, books and research reports, as well as evidence from hundreds of economic-development initiatives from every region of the world to build knowledge cities, harbours, villages, corridors and companies.
The notions of market-share and event measures such as GDP may soon become outdated modes of measuring progress or success. Even ‘triple-bottom-line’ measures (ie, blending financial, social and environmental signposts) are evolving into new indicators to gauge the flow of knowledge and intangible value amid the complex process of stakeholder innovation, led by global sustaining leaders like Novo Nordisk A/S. New leadership principles are emerging, together with that of entrepreneurial innovation. This impetus is leading to new governing policies and modern management practices, all in the name of new performance standards based upon the flow of impact, not output or outcome. Real-time performance measures are emerging, and history will document our success.
In July 1944, world leaders left behind gold as a global currency. Today, it is well recognised that we have entered a new innovation frontier in which intellectual capital – properly leveraged through relationship capital – is rapidly becoming the new dominant currency. It has been more than 60 years since Henry Morganthau issued his challenge at the Bretton Woods conference to “create a dynamic world community in which the peoples of every nation will be able to realise their potentialities for peace”. Perhaps now is the time for the Bretton Woods of the knowledge economy. IC is the asset to be leveraged worldwide.
The prosperity of individuals, enterprises and nations relies upon knowledge as the resource, and innovation as the process.
It is our responsibility to continuously demonstrate that this is the case and to provide pathways to success.
To monitor and join the discussion, visit www.ikmagazine.com/advisorycentre.asp.