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The Intangibles of Competition/Cooperation: Europe and Asia
by Debra M. Amidon

A recent edition of I3 Update featured a story about innovation and intangibles. For those who read to the end, there was a preview of a new book co-edited by ENTOVATION colleague Parthasarathi Banerjee and Frank-Jurgen Richter. Banerjee is one of the representatives from India on the Global Knowledge Leadership Map. His comments - edited from his interview are posted:

"Western theories and practice have run out steam and are out of tune with the emergent global demands."

"Fora are largely dominated by the current stake-holders who are often reactionary. Transforming minds - the cognitive landscape - is a great challenge."

"Society will be placed on conceptual platforms. There will be greatest varieties - theoretical and ideational lineage from other cultures. The world should be non-uniform, conceptually based and any phase will have a character that is aesthetic and vicarious."

It is rare that I have an opportunity to support what I consider to be a seminal publication; but this book - Intangibles in Competition and Cooperation: Euro-Asian Perspectives [ISBN: 0-333-96019-X] - arrived today. It includes reviewer comments from Mohan R. Gurubatham, President, Akasha Networks (Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia), Robert Boyer, Research Director at CNRS (Paris, France) and Dave Ulrich, Professor of Business (Michigan, USA). My own Foreword speaks for the quality and relevance of the work:


The Knowledge Millennium is upon us...and with it has come a plethora of new books, Websites and management tools to enable us to navigate our future. There are books on intellectual capital, the learning organization, and knowledge management. Each provide insight from a subset of the knowledge movement. There are other books on R&D innovation, concurrent engineering, agile manufacturing, relational marketing, and customer services - insights into the functional perspectives of modern management. Their are books on academia, industry and government and even a few that astutely make the connections among the three. Recently, we have seen evidence of the NGO's and non-profit sector taking their place on the executive management scene. Then, there are the country and regional views that provide a insights into that corner of the globe. Few have comprehended the magnitude of the knowledge transformation of which each and every one of us is a part.

What Banerjee and Richter have provided is a gift to our future. We live in a world of kaleidoscopic change in which the compounding effect of the speed of change of multiple variables creates a landscape that challenges the most adept management executive. We can no longer see the world from 2-dimensional matrices, linear value-chains and balance sheets that essentially count the past. We need a view of the whole in order to understand the relationship between the parts - where true value is created. Our future is based on how we leverage our complementary competencies across functions, industries, sectors or regions of the world. This manuscript provides a compelling view of the earth from the Apollo - a world without boundaries. The astute manager will be able to read between the lines and discover practical applications of the concepts to ensure prosperous sustainability.

One of the resisting factors to inevitable change is inflexibility. Most must embrace a spirit of competition or cooperation. However, we have realized that the viable enterprise of the future demands the agility to manage both simultaneously. We no longer live in an either/or world. The paradoxes of management must be resolved if we are to take full advantage of the opportunities of a Knowledge Economy. Understanding the dynamics of intangible value is fundamental to building a successful knowledge strategy. Each chapter in this text is an education in-and-of-itself. Each page is a treasure chest of insight.

Years ago, I learned that true leadership was found - and value was created - where different disciplines or functions interact. Socio-technical fusion is one example. R&D meets marketing is another. The same holds true for regions of the world. Real value is created when we begin to discover the Yin-Yang of east and west, north and south in the Knowledge Economy. Banerjee and Richter - although this manuscript deals primarily with Euro-Asian Perspectives - have provided just that! Not only have they provided a selection of some of the finest experts in the world, they have challenged them to make connections that have never before been so well articulated.

The fact that these exceptional contributions were delivered on the eve of the Millennium (December 2000) is significant.

We have a chance to innovate a future that does not yet exist. However, it requires that we combine expertise on a stage that takes advantage of the value of competition and cooperation in ways that are unfamiliar. It will require courageous leadership, no doubt; and Banerjee and Richter provide a foundation for worldwide dialogue on the issues that will frame our future and the future of generations to come.

It is an extraordinary beginning and I can hardly wait for their encore!

Always in your Network,

Debra M. Amidon
Wilmington, MA USA
March 2001

You can review the book on the publisher website - http://www.palgrave.com/catalogue/catalogue.asp?Title_Id=033396019X. PARTHASARATHI BANERJEE is working with the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies, New Delhi, and was previously at the University of Tokyo, Ecole Polytechnique (Paris) and the State University of New York. He has organised several international seminars, talked widely and published several papers and books in this area. FRANK-JÜRGEN RICHTER is Director for Asia at the World Economic Forum, and has lived, worked and traveled extensively throughout Asia. He has previously held executive management positions with multinational companies, and is a frequent speaker on issues related to Asian economies, international management and global competition. You can also reach the respective authors: Parthasarathi Banerjee - mailto:psb_nist@yahoo.com; Frank-Jurgen Richter - mailto:fj_r@yahoo.com.


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