UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business center focusing on intellectual capital opens

Kore Chan/File
Kore Chan/Senior Staff
Kore Chan/File

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The campus’s Haas School of Business launched a center that will introduce its students to the intangible side of business.

Launched on July 14, the Tusher Center for Management of Intellectual Capital — led by Haas professor David Teece — was funded by Thomas Tusher, a UC Berkeley alumnus and former president of Levi Strauss and Co. The center will focus on the “intangible value” of a business, such as ideas that espouse entrepreneurship, rather than the material inputs of production, such as factories or machines, according to Teece.

“The thesis of this center is that everything that matters today in businesses involves intangible assets,” Teece said. “What is increasingly valuable is what is inside people’s heads.”

Planning of the center began approximately one year ago, Teece said, and was a joint project among Richard Lyons, dean of the Haas School of Business; Tusher, who will serve as the chair of the center’s advisory board; and himself.

The center was inaugurated at the July 14 conference, where participants addressed escalating concerns regarding business management and policy.

The purpose of the conference was to reduce the complications of approaching intellectual property issues. Event organizers aimed to help shape business policy in the United States and abroad by assisting and enhancing innovation.

The conference attracted global business experts, such as David Kappos, a UC Berkeley-educated lawyer who focuses on intellectual property management, and Shira Perlmutter, the chief policy officer and director for international affairs at the federal Patent and Trademark Office.

“Innovation is where the action is,” Kappos said in his keynote speech during the conference. “Everyone everywhere is talking about innovation. The second thing they talk about is that this valley is the model for it. The Tusher Center couldn’t be doing a better thing in a better place.”

As Haas’ Thomas W. Tusher professor in global business, Teece — who specializes in industrial organization, technical change and innovation — was chosen to lead the center as its faculty director.

The center is still currently in its beginning stages, with plans for future conferences and more integrative business programs underway, according to Teece. He called the July conference a success and hopes future events will appeal to a wide spectrum of students and community members.

“I think that the conferences and seminars will be targeted more towards graduate students, but the more enquiring minds will, and can, find a way there,” Teece said.

While initial funding for the center was primarily gifted by Tusher, the center now “has the challenge of raising money to move forward,” according to Teece.

The center is currently housed in various rooms and buildings within the business school itself and is looking to move into a permanent location soon.

Although future sources of the center’s funding are still unclear, Teece is confident that programs will have a great influence on “fostering innovation within the business graduate and undergraduate communities.”

“Innovation is the linchpin of where the Haas school is positioning itself,” Teece said. “Intellectual property and capital is the very essence of entrepreneurship itself, and the center reflects that.”

Contact Andrea Platten and Adrienne Shih at [email protected].