Value of intangibles — from human behavior to brands.

Events  /  02.28.19

Multiple hosted the CEO Roundtable-Chicago at our west loop offices for a presentation by Dave Mason, one of Multiple's Principals and Strategy Director.

The CEO Roundtable is a membership-style organization serving C-suite and Senior Executive business leaders. They provide cutting-edge business intelligence, state-of-the-art solutions, and valuable social-networking opportunities for their members.

Dave presented on a previous blog post Not Everything That Counts Can be Counted and posed the question, do we measure what matters?

Measurement of a business task is designed to attempt to stimulate people (through either positive or negative stress) to achieve the mental and emotional state of peak performance. It also implies that if a business can't accurately measure the results of a specific activity, that activity is not likely to survive long (ie management is going to cut that program!)

“It would be nice if all of the data which sociologists require could be enumerated because then we could run them through IBM machines and draw charts as the economists do. However, not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” —William Bruce Cameron

“Innovation is primarily achieved by investment in intangibles.” —Baruch Lev, Professor of Accounting and Finance, New York University Stern School of Business

Multiple asked to drive intentional change by designing and advancing brands, services, and products. But Brand is an intangible. So what is the ROI of creating a brand or of a rebrand, what is the Return on Intangibles? We look for rational ways to value things but with brands, it is the emotion that is powerful and has value.

What are corporate intangibles?
Sincerity / honesty.
Creative / innovative.
Competence / intelligence.
Sophistication / class.
Ruggedness / toughness.

What are human intangibles?
Complex problem-solving.
Critical thinking.
Interpersonal skills.
Emotional intelligence.
Caring / empathy.
Judgment and ethical decision-making.
Negotiation skills.
Cognitive flexibility / growth mindset.

So can we measure these corporate and human intangibles? The meeting concluded with a handful of questions that spurred some healthy conversation and debates around this topic.

What makes us human?
How do we value what makes us human?
How do we teach what matters?
How do we measure what matters?

Yet, not everything that counts can be counted.