Company IC Check – „IC Starter Kit“
In case a company is interested in improving its soft success factors, the so called intangibles, but is not yet sure how to take the first steps, a very simple Intellectual Capital Quick Check can be used as a kind of “IC Starters Kit” to easily introduce companies to the topic by directly showing first results of the brief analysis. The company can choose, whether it would like to make an internal analysis of IC and finish the exercise, or whether it would like to compare its own results anonymously with other companies e.g. from the same sector or same size afterwards. Therefore, the questionnaire includes a “Benchmarking” section in case the comparison is desired.
IC Quick-Check Online
The online survey is designed as follows: the first part asks some basic company details like size, age and location for statistical reasons – the information is asked in a general way and is treated strictly confidential. The second part deals with the analysis of IC. Here, 15 most common intangible factors are given. Each of these factors can be rated according to three aspects:
1. How important is the factor for the companies’ business success in general? This depends on the type of business, customers, products/services etc. – hence, the individual business model.
2. How good would you rate today’s condition of the factor?
3. Does the company manage this factor in a systematic way? E.g. are there regular procedures or management processes in place to take care of the factor?
The company can go quickly through the test, keeping in mind its business purpose and its strategy for the future.
After finishing this part, the user has two opportunities:
1. Sending the results to the cluster facilitator. The cluster facilitator can create a strengths and weaknesses portfolio for the single company. An excel tool support the facilitator, a report template displays and explains the results for the company. Short recommendations for further steps are given (see sample in Figure 3: Example portfolio from Company IC Check questionnaire – Interpretation of results Figure 3).
2. Send a “Benchmarking request”. The request can be posted after finalising the questionnaire and will be transferred to Fraunhofer IPK. Based on the existing database, a benchmarking with a selected group of companies is done. Results are again displayed in a report (see Template IC Benchmarking Report)
There are basically two versions of the questionnaire designed for the “IC Starters Kit”. Depending on the versions used for a Company IC Check exercise, the following results can be expected:
Going through the simpler version creates an IC Management Portfolio of the company: the graph displays strengths and weaknesses in the companies IC and outlines, which intangible factors need to be developed and looked at more carefully in the near future according to the company’s business goals. Discussing this snap shot of strategically important intangible resources internally supports companies to figure out needs and application areas of IC management within the enterprise. Furthermore, it introduces to the basic logic of CADIC IC Benchmarking in an inter-organisational context.
Applying the extended questionnaire (benchmarking part) additionally provides the opportunity to compare the companies’ results with those of other companies: in the Company IC Check with an additional benchmarking part companies can choose a group they would like to compare with, e.g. same sector, same size etc. By relating the own results to the group average, the company can discuss internally why certain factors are more or less important to the own than to comparable companies. In the future it will also be possible to get in contact with selected companies directly and to step into direct knowledge transfer on IC management practices and experiences. This will support learning between enterprises and capacity building in terms of managing intangible success factors. Until today, the Benchmarking is done with an anonymous group of companies.
The Company IC Check questionnaire is being completed by the company (see IC Benchmarking Questionnaire). It quickly assesses a standardised set of intangible success factors according to their current status (in terms of quality) as well as the importance for the success of the specific business in in the future. The company may chose, if it wants to compare its results to a specific reference group in terms of size, sector etc. Depending on the companies’ decision, the Cluster Facilitator will prepare the IC map (“IC management portfolio”) and/or send the results for comparison to the IC benchmarking database (currently hosted by Fraunhofer IPK). A benchmarking report summarises and concludes the results for the enterprise (see Template IC Benchmarking Report)
Pilot SME representative(s) (from top-management) as well as Cluster Facilitator (CF) will be filling in the questionnaire either jointly or the SME does it independently online. If the latter procedure is chosen, a preparation meeting/talk between SME and CF is highly recommended to explain the background and aims of the exercise precisely. For details please see following section.
How to do it?
At first, the company should decide whether it would like to run the exercise based on the simplified or the extended Company IC Check. This decision should be supported by the Cluster Facilitator beforehand during a short preparatory meeting or call, based on the presentation of the different results as explained above. Furthermore it should be clarified, whether the questionnaire should be filled in at presence of the cluster facilitator (moderated) or without direct support by the SME alone. In case the SME would like to fill in the questionnaire without moderation support, the Cluster Facilitator should also explain beforehand the basic principles: IC success factors are rated according their status-quo and importance for achievement of the corporate strategy and goals.
Depending on the decision of the company, the questionnaire (short or extended) is discussed with or sent to the SME representatives. An online version is available and will be integrated in the final Benchmarking System.
Based on the results, the Cluster Facilitator creates the IC map or IC management portfolio with the help of an Excel tool (see Company IC Check Moderators Toolbox). The portfolio created can be analysed in the following way:
As the Company IC Check is designed to start an internal discussion on intangible drivers for company performance and success, it does not focus on immediate inter-organisational comparison in the sense of “benchmarking”, meaning to directly step into learning from best-in-class companies. This exercise rather uses the anonymous comparison with a selected reference group to trigger internal discussions about priorities and performance of IC and its management within the single company. Hence, the step “comparison” here can be regarded as a means to support a very brief internal analysis.
Comparisons in the IC Benchmarking Report (see ) are displayed for each IC factor in detail and relating the company evaluation to the average of the reference group chosen. For detailed explanations on the interpretation Template IC Benchmarking Report of graphs please see Template IC Benchmarking Report.
As stated above a genuine Benchmarking exercise would now go on with designing a concept how the practices from best-in-class companies can be implemented in the own company to support improvement. The Company IC Check is a limited snapshot of IC performance and does not allow deriving practical measures and improvement actions. Companies that would like to have a more detailed look at their Intellectual Capital and possible management actions for improvement might think about running an Intellectual Capital Statement (see www.incas-europe.org).
The IC Quick Check as described in this section has no direct reference to collaborations or network partners. How such a tool can be used with reference to company networks or collaborations will be explained in the section IC Benchmarking.