One of the consequences of demateralisation is that things that “retain their economic values independent of the physical medium containing them”[4]. The value of a product is not in its tangible heft, rather it is in the intangibles, the know-how that went into it, its design, look-and-feel, engineering specification and brand. Economists call these weightless attributes intangible assets to distinguish them from the tangible physical assets. When McKinsey & Co evaluated 6,000 global companies, they found the top 10%, the superstars, were masters of the intangible, from R&D to brand stewardship; from digital adoption to skills.[5]

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