Lucidea’s Lens: Knowledge Management Thought Leaders Part 32 – Mary Adams

Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

December 22, 2022

Mary Adams helps business leaders deliver sustainable corporate value through ESG (environmental, social, and governance) optimization. Based in Boston, she specializes in intangible capital, the multi-capital model, integrated thinking, and integrated management.

The focus of her work is bringing sustainability and long-term thinking into business decisions. Mary’s career started in high-risk finance and moved to entrepreneurship and strategy consulting. Her current work at Insights7 is building software that enables business leaders to literally connect the dots between profitability and sustainability. The rising pressure on companies to incorporate ESG factors into corporate reporting and management systems is an important impetus.

Mary supports two communities she helped create: The Exit Planning Exchange (XPX) that brings long-term thinking to the private company market, and the Integrated Reporting U.S. Community that brings long-term thinking to public companies.

Her career started in the world of hard assets and finance, with 15 years in high-risk lending at Citicorp and Sanwa. In 1999, Mary started a strategy consulting firm. As she helped clients adapt to changing markets and changing expectations, she saw firsthand how the financial models she had used as a banker were failing to capture the value being created (and destroyed) in the form of human, digital, natural, and relationship resources.

Mary is the co-author of Intangible Capital: Putting Knowledge to Work in the 21st Century Organization which outlined approaches she developed to support systems thinking, integrated value creation, and a multi-capital framework. This kind of approach is now gaining greater market acceptance thanks to the work of organizations like the integrated reporting and management movement under the umbrella of ISSB – the International Sustainability Standards Board, a movement she actively supports.


  • Rice University – BA, Political Science, 1977 – 1981
  • Thunderbird School of Global Management – Masters, International Management, 1981 – 1982


  • Co-founder and CMO – Insights7, 2021 – Present
  • Founder – Smarter-Companies, 2013 – 2022
  • Co-Founder – Trek Consulting LLC, 1999 – 2013
  • Vice President – Sanwa Business Credit, 1990 – 1999



Intangible Capital: Putting Knowledge to Work in the 21st-Century Organization with Michael Oleksak

Table of Contents

The Routledge Companion to Intellectual Capital edited by James Guthrie, John Dumay, Federica Ricceri, and Christian Nielsen – Chapter 23: Emerging Integrated Reporting Practices in the United States

Leading Issues in Knowledge Management Volume 2 edited by Kenneth Grant and John Dumay – Chapter 2 with John Dumay: The Learning Journey of IC Missionaries: Intuition, control, and value Creation

Knowledge Management and Intellectual Capital Excellence Awards 2015: An Anthology of Case Histories edited by Dan Remeny – Chapter 1: Road Map to Growth and Exit: Jumpstarting Growth with IC

Flat World Navigation: Collaboration and Networking in the Global Digital Economy by Kim Chandler McDonald – Chapter 3: Demand and opportunity through business collaboration (interview)


How to Increase Value with Intangible Capital



Other Content


How Intangible Capital Saves Bookshops

Three key strategies that helped drive the change (and the intangible capitals behind them):

  1. Community – strong focus on local connections (relationship capital)
  2. Curation – emphasis on the value add of the staff choices and recommendations (human capital)
  3. Convening – building the capacity to promote and run events to bring together like-minded customers (structural capital)

A New Way of Looking at Intangible Capital


The Learning Journey of IC Missionaries: Intuition, control, and value creation with John Dumay

Optimized for Growth: Case Study of a Sales Organization with Verna Allee

Cultivating Innovation: Lessons from America’s Chief Innovation Officers

Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield

Please enjoy Stan’s blog posts offering advice and insights drawn from many years as a KM practitioner. You may also want to download a free copy of his book, Lucidea’s Lens: Special Librarians & Information Specialists; The Five Cs of KM from Lucidea Press, and its precursor, Proven Practices for Implementing a Knowledge Management Program. And learn about Lucidea’s Presto, SydneyEnterprise, and GeniePlus software with unrivaled KM capabilities that enable successful knowledge curation and sharing.

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