The expansion of the services sector, globalisation, deregulation and the emergence of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) have brought to the fore the issue of how knowledge is created, disseminated, retained and used to obtain economic returns. This development is associated with a structural change from traditional scale-based manufacturing to new more innovation-intensive activities. These rely heavily on intellectual assets encompassing such elements as research and development (R&D), patents, software, human resources and new organisational structures. In fact, these assets have become strategic factors for value creation by firms. They are increasingly important in enabling productivity and efficiency gains, and are a crucial part of innovation in relation to business processes and products. As such, intellectual assets are central to economies? growth and competitiveness.

This report presents a synthesis of the key findings to date from recent OECD work on intellectual assets and value creation with regard to three core issue areas: national accounts and estimations of investment in intellectual assets; the regional dimension of innovation, firm location and linkages; and corporate reporting, value creation and SMEs.

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