Thursday, February 27, 2014

Your Intellectual Capital Exchange Rate

OK - I'm about to sound like a professor to set the stage for this post. Here we go...

Intellect is of or related to abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, problem solving, and the application of best practices.  That’s how I’ve defined it as part of I-Core Principles.  I’ve often wondered about the tangible value of intellect so I decided to investigate.  The categories that came to mind immediately were intellectual capital and intellectual property.

Our intellect is inherent currency that we develop through years of education, experience, exploration.  It is a way of converting what we know and can do into hard cash or market value through day-to-day transactions (ex. employee) or by unlimited multipliers (ex. entrepreneur). 

Question - what is your intellectual capital exchange rate?  Are you trading up or down?

Definitions of Intellectual Capital
  • The amount by which the market value of a firm exceeds its tangible (physical and financial) assets less liabilities which consists of consists of human capital, structural capital, and relational capital (Stewart, T., 1998).
  • Knowledge that can be exploited for some money-making or other useful purpose (, 2007)
  • Collective knowledge (whether or not documented) of the individuals in an organization or society (Business Dictionary, 2013)

Definitions of Intellectual Property
  • A legal concept which refers to creations of the mind such as musical, literary, or artistic works, discoveries or inventions, words, phrases, symbols, or designs for which exclusive rights are recognized (Wikipedia, 2013)
  • Property (as an idea, invention, or process) that derives from the work of the mind or intellect (Merriam-Webster, 2013)
  • A work or invention that is the result of creativity, such as a manuscript or a design, to which one has rights and for which one may apply for a patent, copyright, trademark, etc. (Google, 2013)

Now that definitions have been level set, the next questions that came to mind are:
  • Who benefits most from your intellectual output?
  • How can you capture more of the capital from your intellectual pursuits?

Converting intellect to tangible capital in dollars and cents can be tricky.  However, consider this—you’re being paid a wage (hopefully a fair wage) based on the market value of your intellect in the position that you hold.  Is that all that your intellect is worth?  Of course not!
You are also bound by non-disclosure agreements and other legal constraints which make it necessary for you to leave behind any intellectual capital or intellectual property that you develop while employed.  This means that if you have an "Apple" or "Facebook" of an idea which gets adopted while you’re employed, it’s not really yours unless you play your cards right.

There's an ROI (return on investment) that the company will reap as a result of your intellectual contributions.  It’s up to you to know what that multiplier is and to make sure that you’re getting what you believe to be your fair share based on your intellectual contributions.

I'll continue to explore these concepts and actions that you need to take in a future post.

Now back to my regular 'voice' ;-)

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