In order to restructure our financial system; we first need to restructure our innovation system.  ALL of the top ten reasons for business failure are due to a lack of knowledge, not a lack of money.

Top 10 reasons why businesses fail:

1.    Lack of an adequate, viable business plan
2.    Insufficient sales to sustain business
3.    Poor marketing plan: unappealing product, poor customer identification, incorrect pricing and lackluster promotion
4.    Inadequate capital, misuse of capital and poor cost control
5.    Poor management skills: lack of delegation, leadership and/or control
6.    Lack of experience and knowledge
7.    Lack of managerial focus/commitment
8.    Poor customer service
9.    Inadequate human resource management
10.    Failure to properly use professional advice: i.e. accounting, legal, financial, etc.

Lack of a viable business plan is an act of negligence where research, scenarios, and assumptions have not been tested.  Market ignorance is not an excuse nor is the failure to know one’s customer. Death by poor marketing plan is knowledge deficiency related to product appeal, customer identification, pricing structure, and lackluster promotion.  Obviously, one needs to know how to manage a company in order to be focused, let alone correctly estimate capital needs. Lack of customer service knowledge is deadly in the age of social media. Inadequate HR is an oxymoron – if it’s inadequate, it’s not a resource – human or otherwise.  Finally, failure to listen to knowledgeable people is ego driven irrationality.

The financial system is not the only problem; the innovation system is a crucial element. Information, knowledge and innovation, by any definition, are profoundly and inseparably connected.  A failure in one kills the other two.  So, just because an entrepreneur does not have the knowledge, does not mean it the ‘knowledge’ fails to exist – it simply means that entrepreneur failed to find it.

So where is the knowledge? Unfortunately, there is no public knowledge inventory – people do not know what each other knows.  There is no website where that people can go search for all 90th percentile social media experts living in zip code 06776, let alone build a dedicated local management team.  There is no way that anyone can assemble the knowledge needed to execute a business plan with a known probability of success given the information available.  As such, there is no way to finance public innovation.

Insurance companies can tell you the probability that you will die exactly on your 80th birthday, but we cannot estimate the probability that a business will be successful.  Nothing has more variables that human physiology, yet it is predictable and business success probability is not.  Why can’t this be fixed?

If we could identify, integrate, and predict public information, knowledge and innovation, we could diversify risk exposures away.  With risk exposures managed, we could insure start-ups risks.  With start-up risk eliminated, we can sell innovation bonds at, say, 6% to fund the extraordinary rate of public innovation that we need to support our debt and pressing social liabilities.   If the innovation bond returns a modest 20%, human productivity, by definition, has increased by 20%.  A 20% growth in human productivity is a 20% growth in an economy.  Again, financial system is not the only problem; the innovation system – or lack of an innovation system – is the problem.  Perhaps oversimplified, but this is an astonishing omission from the national dialog on the financial crisis.

The emergence of Social Media technology presents an extraordinary opportunity to organize a knowledge inventory outside the construct of a corporation and marry it to the financial system, much like a corporation.  Knowledge tangibility must be the most important “innovation” in the pipeline today if we expect to meet the crushing challenges that await us.  Just because we cannot predict innovation does not mean it cannot be done – it just means that we do not know how… yet. This is not about inventing a new currency, it is about the public taking control of the old one. We, the people, don’t deserve to lose this game; join The Ingenesist Project and help build a sustainable Innovation Economy.


Innovation economics has a way of forcing us to look at the mirror image of conventional wisdom.  This article will look at knowledge assets as they might appear on an accounting balance sheet.  You may be surprised at what happens at the bottom line.

Wall Street will often reward a company that has a large backlog of orders. This can appear in the eyes of most observers as an asset. After all, who would not want a backlog of orders?  However, in the world of social media, a huge backlog causes a serious problem – it represents commitments made that have not yet been delivered. An unfulfilled promise in a social network is a liability and not an asset.  By extension, a backlog in an innovation economy is a liability and not an asset (note: climate change).

Applying conventional wisdom to an innovation economy, we find that most companies have an excellent inventory of the “liability” but a poor inventory of the “asset” that will execute those promises. All of their plans, specifications, blueprints, job descriptions, policies and procedures, etc., are liabilities in an innovation economy because these define the promise that is unfulfilled, not the asset that will fulfill them.

Until recently, companies assumed that the right knowledge assets will always be available – an assumption that for a long time has limited the level of productivity that humans can achieve, specifically, the sustainability of natural resources. The absence of a knowledge inventory limits the complexity of problems that humans can solve much like industry was limited to custom machinery before Eli Whitney demonstrated the concept of interchangeable parts less than 200 years ago.

Further, if the product line is expected to have a life cycle of more than a few years, the knowledge inventory must extend beyond the doors of the company and into the surrounding community.  Therefore, the knowledge inventory must take on the taxonomy of the community, not the taxonomy of the corporation such as skill codes, levels, titles, etc. The requirement is now clearly in the domain of social networks.  Yet, I still hear grumblings in the blog sphere that social networks cannot be monetized – nothing should be further from the truth.

So, let’s talk about the bottom line.  For example, Boeing announced today that their greatest future challenge would be the availability of engineers. Boeing has a market capitalization of $34B and a $300B backlog.  Money has a 10:1 multiplier as it travels through and economy.  For a balanced accounting statement, what would be the real value of a social network that can capture the correct knowledge inventory to support Boeing; 34B, 300B, or 3T?

In general, valid estimates of the bottom line can vary by 2 orders of magnitude depending on the point of view of Wall Street, corporate management, or the social network community.  Who would be the better steward?


If we combine the parallel transaction with the series transaction we have what now looks like a neural network. In practice, we know that strong networks of people freely exchanging ideas make organizations better, smarter, and more efficient. Networks are where knowledge and wisdom is literally stored. A network is fault tolerant, if one person leaves, the network survives. For a relatively small input into a network, we can produce a large output of new knowledge – we have a learning organization.

However, in society, these interactions are largely accidental; people meet at Church, Starbucks, and Social Events or by word of Mouth. Other times, these interactions are concentrated inside a single community of very similar people such as a technical conference, group meeting, or lunch buddies and are often not well diversified.

Suppose the interactions among people were not random, instead, they could be designed by the entrepreneur to produce a unique outcome. The Innovation Bank will combine people of complementary knowledge assets in a calculated manner in order to arrive at specific business approaches and applications.

A special case of the above business method and resulting social network is called the Multiplier Effect. A financial bank enjoys a multiplier effect with the ability to lend the 10 times more money than they hold in reserve. Money changing hands has a multiplier effect on an economy. Again, financial analogies hold.

Suppose that a company owns composite material technology for use on aircraft. Since they specialize in airplanes, they have no intention of pursuing other applications such as recreational equipment, energy production, or health care products.

Suppose that the company could deposit this asset in a bank and collect interest. The Search Engine can scan the business landscape to find companies with a knowledge deficit in the area of your technology and make loans of your technology. As the originator, you have the option to see what those other companies invent and you hold the right to use their new ideas in your aircraft application.

With an innovation Bank, you can reduce your Research and Development costs and create additional revenue in a tangential innovation market. With reduced cost and risk of innovation, you are likely to specialize more and more in innovation as your enterprise. In the event of a cyclic downturn in the business of an originator, instead of “laying off” knowledge assets, people can work in tangential industries where they will continue developing – literally putting “Knowledge in the Bank” – to be called back when market conditions improve. A mobile knowledge asset increases in value becoming smarter and more productive over time.


So now, what are the entrepreneurs going to do with this percentile search engine?

Entrepreneurs wander the earth looking for valuable things that are being used at a low level of productivity and they move those assets to a higher level of productivity and then pocket the difference, called profit.

Think pet rock, condo conversions, sand, corn, etc.,…it goes on forever.

The entrepreneur needs to have a clear view of what the asset is, the lower level of productivity, and the higher level of productivity of the asset. These three elements are the focus of all business plans. Then they set things in motion and give life to the market system.

When we look at financial banks we see the classic entrepreneurial activity. In the simplest form, banks do little more than find people who have a surplus of money and they match them with people who have a deficit of money.  Bankers have a clear view of the asset, the lower level of productivity and the higher level of productivity for the asset.

They pay a lower interest to the depositor than they do to the borrower and pocket the difference. In addition, they enjoy a multiplier effect that allows them to lend the same money many times effectively creating money from a promise to pay, or debt.

It is in the best interest of the bank to find rich people who will not need their money for a while, and poor people that have the best likelihood of paying the money back in time. This is to minimize the risk that the depositor will pull out their deposits and the risk that the borrower will not pay back the loan. The problem is that some assumptions need to be made, some of which may no longer be valid:

The bank assumes that the borrower has the knowledge required to execute the business plan that they are financing. Unfortunately, the credit score does not predict knowledge on future ventures.  For this reason, new ventures are not easy to finance.

The financial bank makes the assumption that the entrepreneur has the knowledge to execute a business plan that they seek money to fund.

On the other hand, the Innovation Bank makes the assumption that the entrepreneur has the money available to execute the business and is searching for the knowledge to do so.  This service will be required in the innovation economy since no single person can live long enough to possess as much knowledge as is required to manage the complexity of problems that face the World. We will need to mind meld.

The Innovation Bank simply matches most worthy knowledge surplus with most worthy knowledge deficit and a market is born.

The challenge for the innovation Bank is to match the most correct knowledge surplus to the most correct knowledge deficit. This is accomplished with the computer enabled knowledge inventory. A search can be conducted of the supply and demand for knowledge assets. The Percentile Search Engine will calculate the probability that the specific business objective will be successful.

The business plan for the entrepreneur is very simple but the implications are vast.