EverEdge CEO Paul Adams begins with a simple question: “what if the way we think about business value is wrong?” The answer is intriguing, challenging, frightening and enlightening all at once.

In this talk for TEDx Auckland, Paul focuses on a critical new area of business: intangible assets. Intangible assets include data, content, brands, confidential information, software, product designs, regulatory approvals and industrial know how. In 1970 these assets represented just 17% of all company value. Today that has climbed to 90%. Paul describes how the language of business is accounting and how that language needs to evolve. The implications are profound and affect not just business but every person on the planet, every day.

Despite the enormous value and impact of intangible assets most companies cannot tell you what intangible assets they own, let alone unlock their value. In a quirk of accounting intangibles are almost entirely absent from balance sheets, financial reports and risk registers. This leads to huge hidden opportunities and massive risks. Opportunities because many companies are sitting on materially greater value than they realise. Risks because many managers are unaware of key dangers that can bring companies to their knees when intangible assets such as data, brands, software and confidential information are managed incorrectly. This hidden value and risk in turn impacts the economic fortunes of every company, every investment, every loan, every tax payment and every job in the global economy.


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