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Short Sharp: Maximise your Innovation Assets to Stay Competitive

Greg MacDonald and Lara Prentice

The University of Auckland Business School’s Executive and Professional Development team recently hosted a webinar on the importance of ideas and other innovation assets for businesses, now and in a post-pandemic future.

Held on Wednesday 17 November, Maximise your Innovation Assets to Stay Competitive, featured the University of Auckland Business School’s innovation expert Peter Lee and EverEdge Global CEO Paul Adams. They shared their ideas on how businesses can create an innovative culture and understand the value of their innovation assets to gain a competitive edge in a post-pandemic business environment.

Peter Lee

Lee started proceedings discussing how ideas develop, spread, and can create a foundation of innovation within organisations and broader commercial ecosystems.
He explained that ideas develop best in the brain when information gained through new experiences has a chance to develop during quiet moments and daydreaming.

“You don’t want to always stay with the same group of people who tell you what you already know but give yourself a chance to meet with people who give you new insights and inspirations,” Lee said.

This process also works on a larger scale within and between organisations. Lee pointed to the recent development of a cosmetic face mask that incorporated collagen from hoki skins, natural plant extracts and nanofiber technology as an example of successful idea sharing between organisations with different areas of expertise.

Lee also acknowledged the tension within businesses that try to encourage innovation while maintaining their core business.

“There’s risk-taking and there’s not risk-taking. There’s adventurism, and there’s doing the same thing every day but doing it better. So, we need to be able to find how to make these two cultures coexist, and one thing we can do is take small risks and learn from experiments.”

Paul Adams

With Lee explaining the origin, use and development of innovation assets, Paul Adams took over the second half of the webinar to offer his experience on how businesses can value and protect them.

As the CEO of Everedge Global, Adams helps large and small businesses to identify, value and strategise with their intangible assets – the non-physical, non-monetary assets of a company such as data, technical knowledge and IP.

“If you go back to 1975, intangible assets accounted for less than 17 percent of all company value. Fast forward to today, and it’s about 90 percent. Intangibles are everywhere, not just in the things that people traditionally think about such as patents or trademarks, but things like systems and processes, confidential information, regulatory approvals and data.”

Unfortunately, many organisations still undervalue these crucial assets.

“Most companies are looking in the wrong direction, tracking chairs, laptops, company cars and plant equipment. There’s a failure to recognise the gap between what your company accounts say and where the true value, growth and risk occurs because all of that is within your intangible assets. And yet those things are relatively absent from balance sheets.”

Adams illustrated this with examples of organisations that dramatically increased their market valuation after reassessing their intangible assets. This included a mall owner that found the data coming out of its malls had more value than their physical real estate, and a salvage operation on a failed tech start-up that delivered $45 back for every $1 invested.

Concluding his talk, Lee had some advice for those businesses keen to reassess their assets.

“Firstly, you need to identify what your intangible assets actually are, because they’re your most valuable assets. You have to assess them, then develop a strategy to protect and value them appropriately because humans don’t value things that don’t have price tags attached. And then monetise them to find other ways to extract value from these assets.”

You can watch the full webinar including the Q&A session here.

30 November 2022