Harvesting Intangible Assets: Uncover Hidden Revenue in Your Company’s Intellectual Property by Andrew Sherman is a clear, comprehensive guide to identifying, managing and leveraging your organizations intellectual assets – which may include patents, trademarks, customer information, software code, databases, business models, systems, processes and employee expertise.

Throughout the book, Sherman uses the metaphor of a farm to make intellectual property (IP) concepts more understandable, and to help the reader understand the need to focus on these intangible forms of value. The same kind of discipline, care and nurturing that a farmer brings to cultivating his fields must be the same kind of approach we take to developing, protecting and leveraging our organization’s intellectual capital.

Sherman points out that companies tend to ignore or undervalue their strategic IP assets. They don’t have systems in place to identify and manage them. He also points out that the balance sheet – the barometer that most companies use to determine how they’re doing – is an outdated measurement tool:

“In today’s information-centric and intangible-asset driven society, looking to the net worth line to determine a company’s value would be the strategic equivalent of telling a farmer that the total value of his farm is limited to the projected wholesale value of the harvestable crops he currently has in the field. Such a valuation methodology would fail to take into account the intrinsic worth of his knowledge, his distribution channels, his relationship with his team, his land, his future assets, his systems, his processes and his leadership skills.”

Harvesting Intangible Assets offers a framework for conducting an IP audit and creating an Intellectual Asset Management system to help you develop your own system for managing your firm’s intellectual property. The book is also filled with examples of companies that have successfully cultivated and leveraged their key intangible assets. In addition, Sherman helps the reader to take an expansive point of view on where IP assets may reside – including consortiums, customers, channel partners, joint ventures and franchises.

When you hear the term “intellectual capital” in this book’s title, you may assume that it is a dense, legalistic treatment of this obscure but important subject. Far from it. Harvesting Intangible Assets is engaging reading – a real accomplishment! Sherman’s practical, best-of-breed advice will arm you with the knowledge you need to develop your organization’s IP strategy.

About the author

Chuck Frey Senior Editor, founded and served as its publisher from its launch in 2002 until the partnership with Innovation Management in 2012. He is the publisher of The Mind Mapping Software Blog, the definitive souce for news, trends, tips and best practices for visual mapping tools. A journalist by trade, Chuck has over 14 years of experience in online marketing, and over 10 years experience in business-to-business public relations. His interests include creative problem solving, visual thinking, photography, business strategy and technology. His unique combination of experience and influences enables him to envision new possibilities and opportunities.