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What's your "experiential capital?"

I did a keynote yesterday for a major packaging / printing company, focussing on global economic, business, social and other trends, outlining how this industry might be affected.

One of the phrases I used — and I’ve used this in the last 3 talks — revolves around the concept of “experiential capital.” This particular organization is starting to take some careful steps into the China marketplace, and when it comes to innovation, they will build up some important capital — experience.

In a world of rapid, relentless change — in which Apple can toss out a $1/2 billion market overnight in order to enter a new one (with the move from the iPod Mini to the iPod Nano) — it’s important that companies stay firmly focussed on innovation and creativity.

A key way of doing this is to build up the skills and insight of their people in a whole variety of areas — by working on projects that might have an uncertain return and payback — but doing so explicitly with the goal of building up their experience.

I call it “experiential capital”, and I think it is one of the most important investments that an organization must make today.

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