Intellectual Capital: Measurement and Management
During the XVI April International Academic Conference HSE held a joint session on Intellectual Capital of Companies together with the European Institute of Advanced Studies in Management (Brussels). During this session, Professor Zambon of the University of Ferrara gave a keynote lecture and participated in round-table discussions on various problems associated with intellectual capital and intangible assets.
This visit marks the start of a long-term programme of cooperation with Professor Zambon and University of Ferrara which he represents. According to Irina Ivashkovskaya, Professor at the Faculty of Economics, ‘working with Professor Zambon will promote the study of the practice of using intellectual capital in Russian business, as well as conducting comparative research on its usage, assessing its contribution to companies’ efficiency, the growth in their value, the work of their board of directors, the practice of disclosing information on intellectual capital compared with European companies and companies from large countries with developing capital markets (India, Brazil, South Africa, and China). This research is currently being carried out at the International Laboratory of Intangible-driven Economy at HSE Perm, as well as at Corporate Finance Centre at HSE Moscow. Future plans include joining forces with the St. Petersburg and Perm campuses to carry out such research and organize conferences. In addition, a regular dialogue needs to be held with businesses and official insitutions on applying, analysing and appraising intellectual assets. Round tables might also be carried out with businesses on this topic.’
HSE News Service has talked to Professor Zambon about his research and the HSE April Conference.
— What are your impressions of the conference?
— This conference is obviously very large and it deals with various forefronts of academic research. In this respect it’s a really great organizational effort and at the same time a great opportunity that has been offered to not only Russian, but also international economists to confront, discuss and debate on all up-to-date issues that our economies are facing. One particular aspect I’d like to stress is the innovativeness of this particular section of the conference, the session on intellectual capital. This is clearly a new phenomenon appearing on the horizon of economic studies. Intellectual capital is an important variable and has been for a long time overlooked. I believe it could be a very fruitful topic and area for research in future, and I think this conference is doing a good job to show this.
— Would you say the value of intangible capital varies from country to country, is it, for example, a feature of post-industrial economy only or is it a global phenomenon?
— The difficulty, but also the beauty of this topic is the fact that intangible capital varies across countries, but also across territories, companies and organizations. It’s a variable that takes time to accumulate. It’s very difficult to accumulate intellectual capital in a short time, because it’s made up of different aspects, and, in particular, knowledge. We all know that knowledge is a complicated factor, but it’s fundamental for our own development on the personal level. This, of course, applies even more to nations, countries, and regions. Companies have different intellectual capital because they have different capacity of creating value and intellectual capital is linked to value creation (keeping in mind that value is not necessarily cash).
Another interesting thing is intellectual capital of territories and of nations. During my speech, I mentioned brands like ‘Made in Italy’, ‘Made in Germany’, ‘Made in Russia’ – each of these brands are public intangibles available to the community, in this case, businesses. And each of them brings different sensations, perceptions, and feelings: ‘Made in Germany’ or ‘Made in Italy’ are different.
— Can these public intangibles be built with the same tools that are used in private business?
— Yes and no. First of all, you need to raise awareness on many levels. Sometimes people talk about innovation, but they don’t ask themselves what the sources of innovation are. If you think about it, the sources of innovation are intangible, in other words, intellectual capital should be understood.
Then, intellectual capital should be managed. You clearly can’t manage a territory exactly like a company, but still the basic principles are the same: awareness, creation of capacities to develop intellectual capital, a better way to report intellectual capital, because the information about the intellectual capital is vital to take decisions. There have been studies demonstrating that companies, territories, and nations with higher intellectual capital also have higher capacity of creating value.
— How could the theory of intangible capital and resources apply to an educational institution?
— It’s interesting to know that ten years ago in Austria the state approved a law obliging Austrian universities to produce an intellectual capital report every year, in order to make an effort to show what they are doing, the impact of students, the impact of the professors etc. It’s an interesting way to show that intellectual capital applies also to non-profit organizations. Faculty qualification, papers, organizational climate – it is a comprehensive picture of what is non-financial. Of course, a university has accounts, money coming and going, but the interesting thing for a university is that the non-financial aspect is more important than financial equilibrium. That’s why the concept of intellectual capital can be very helpful to try to show some aspects that are sometimes hidden in the usual accounts.
— Are university rankings a measure of this intellectual capital?
— Yes, they are. However, here we are talking about much more articulated type of information. You have to show what you are doing with the public money and with the students’ money, and it’s healthy that you show this with a special report. But it is not just talking; the important thing is metrics accompanied with some narrative. This is a new way to look at the whole issue. It will take time because we are used to financial measures: rubles, dollars, profit, bottom line. However, to some extent, it’s illusory, because profit does not exist in practice: it’s just a calculation.
— Have you done any research using Russian data?
— Not yet, but we are talking about it with Professor Irina Ivashkovskaya. We have a number of projects connected with Russia – we are bringing here the most important academic event in Europe on intangibles next year, our interdisciplinary workshop on Intellectual Assets: Measurement and Reporting. We have been organizing it since 2005 in cooperation with the European Institute of Advanced Studies in Management. The workshop will be in Russia, probably, in Moscow. I hope also the governmental officers will understand the importance of the issue and that there will be some occasions to exchange ideas with them. In Europe there is a renewed interest in this area, particularly by the European Commission and OECD. It’s a technical topic, but it’s also has to do with soft policy, soft skills, soft parts of organizations, and we all know they are important.
Prepared by Maria Besova, HSE English language website
Prof. Dr Thomas Dohmen from the Institute for Applied Microeconomics, University of Bonn, Germany is to deliver an honorary lecture at the upcoming April Academic Conference at HSE University April 9 – 12. HSE News Service spoke with Dr. Dohmen about his work on the Global Preferences Survey (GPS), an international survey of epic proportions that he helped develop and analyze in order to learn whether individuals differ in terms of economic preferences by country, and more.
During the XX April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development, scheduled this year for April 9-12 at the Higher School of Economics, Dr David Garcia of the Complexity Science Hub Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, Austria will present a report entitled ‘The digital traces of collective emotion’ at a session on ‘The Wellbeing of Children and Youth in the Digital Age.’ Ahead of the conference, Dr Garcia spoke with the HSE News Service about his conference presentation, his research, and plans for ongoing collaboration with HSE colleagues.
The European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), one of the world's largest professional associations in the field of business and management, has awarded the Master’s Programme ‘Finance’ at the HSE in St. Petersburg an accreditation for a period of three years. This is the first Master’s programme in Russia to be accredited by the EFMD.
Economists of the School of Finance of the Higher School of Economics Victoria Dobrynskaya and Yulia Kishilova analysed secondary market prices of the world-famous toy construction sets released from 1987-2014.
Seniors in Russia are not responsive to public promotion of healthy living. Their behaviours follow eight different patterns, and a healthy lifestyle is far from being the most popular one. Only 17% of elderly people live what can be termed a 'healthy' lifestyle, Elena Selezneva discovered. The results of the study were presented at the XIX April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development at HSE.
The report entitled ‘Twelve Solutions for New Education’, prepared by the Higher School of Economics and the Centre for Strategic Development, was presented at the XIX April International Academic Conference. Professors Martin Carnoy and Tomasso Agasisti, international experts on education and conference guests, have shared their views on the issues and initiatives highlighted in the report.
One of the roundtables held during the XIX April Academic Conference featured a discussion of the report on morphology of Russian cities presented by Robert Buckley, Senior Fellow in the Graduate Program in International Affairs at The New School, US. The report looked at what Russian cities look like in terms of population density, how the patterns Russian cities exhibit compare with those of other cities around the world, and what individual behaviours might have contributed to the appearance of a certain pattern.
The notion that Karl Marx's works have been studied inside and out is fundamentally incorrect. The huge body of his manuscripts has still not been completely processed, and his seminal work, Capital, was only recently published with the final edits of the author. The 19th April Conference at the Higher School of Economics included the section ‘Methodology of Economic Science’ which was devoted to the work of the German philosopher and political scientist. Independent researcher and professor from Berlin, Thomas Kuczynski, gave a presentation at the conference which pointed out numerous aspects of Marx’s continuous rethinking of allegedly fixed truths.
During a plenary session of the HSE XIX April International Academic Conference, participants discussed the technological future of the Russian economy and how it relates to objectives such as speeding up economic growth and improving the quality of life.
These days, no scientific research is carried out without the use of digital media for the production or dissemination of knowledge. The term ‘Digital Humanities’ reflects this process and constitutes a scientific field where humanists not only aim to use a certain software, but also to understand research using quantitative semantics. However, digital infrastructures are not the same globally. In her talk at the HSE April International Academic Conference Dr Gimena del Rio Riande addressed various issues that arise in connection with digital humanities.