The Intangible Economy: About this forum series

The information, intangibles and innovation (I3
or I-Cubed) economy is now a reality. Information, knowledge and other
intangibles now drive economic prosperity and wealth creation. Intangible
assets – worker skills and know-how, informal relationships that
feed creativity and new ideas, high-performance work organizations,
formal intellectual property, brand names – are the new keys to
competitive advantage. Intangibles and information power our innovation
process, which is a combination of formal research and informal creativity.
These elements combine to produce the productivity and improvement gains
needed to maintain prosperity.

In this I-Cubed Economy, the rules have changed. But public policy has
not caught up with this new economic environment. Governments are struggling
with ways to utilize information, foster the development of intangibles
and promote innovation and competitiveness in the new global information
economy. Policy makers are grappling with the urgent need to frame policy
questions in light of the changing economic situation.

Issues of developing and managing intangibles underlie discussions on
a variety of subjects, such as intellectual property rights, education
and training policy, economic development, technology policy, and trade
policy. Crafting new policies in these areas will require infusing a
better understanding of intangibles and the information economy into
the public debate.

To help expand the dialogue, Athena Alliance and the Project on America
and the Global Economy of the Woodrow Wilson Center are co-sponsoring
a series of discussions on policies for the Intangible Economy. This
discussion series will explore the concepts and controversies surrounding
the issues of the I-Cubed Economy, including managing and regulating
intangible assets, fostering innovation and creativity and improving
international competitiveness. Our goal is to increase the understanding
of how we utilize intangibles so that everyone benefits from the transformation
to the information economy.

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