Keywords: strategic benchmarking, intellectual capital benchmarking, intellectual capital management, knowledge management, core competencies management
ICBS: Intellectual Capital Benchmarking Systems
Researchers in the areas of sustainable competitive advantage have come to the conclusion that the only thing that gives an organisation a competitive edge - the only thing that is sustainable - is what it knows, how it uses what it knows, and how fast it can know something new. But if most agree on the key role of knowledge as a source of competitive advantage, very few know how to manage knowledge that produces value or Intellectual Capital in an efficient way. ICBS is trying to fill this gap using benchmarking techniques, and facilitating the process of learning from the best competitors. ICBS, which stands for Intellectual Capital Benchmarking System, is at the same time a new management method and a new management tool that allows companies to benchmark core competencies or intellectual capital against the best world-class competitors of the same business activity. The system is a framework built around the key competitiveness factors and criteria that determine competitiveness in the context of global markets. The main factors considered are: products, architecture, alliances, competitive advantages, innovation and R&D, leadership, strategy and culture. ICBS identifies the specific competitiveness factors and criteria which are relevant in a given business activity. The system, through the competitiveness factors framework, enables the identification, audit and benchmark of the core competencies or key intellectual capital, that are the main sources of sustainable competitive advantages. When using ICBS in an orderly systematic and repetitive way, we obtain competitiveness balance sheets, that complement and perfect financial balance sheets and lead companies to leveraging intellectual capital. The system has been tested and successfully implemented in more than thirty European enterprises.