THE KAPLAN-NORTON COLLABORATION began in 1990 with a multi-company research project that explored new ways to measure organizational performance. We believed, at the time, that knowledge-based assets—primarily employees and information technology—were becoming increasingly important for companies’ competitive success. But companies’ primary measurement systems remained the financial accounting system, which treated investments in employee capabilities, databases, information systems, customer relationships, quality, responsive processes, and innovative products and services as expenses in the period in which they were incurred. Financial reporting systems provided no foundation for measuring and managing the value created by enhancing ...

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