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97 Examples of Intangible Things

 , updated on September 09, 2023
Intangible things are entities that have no physical form. The following are common examples.
Reputation
Social status
Identity
Software
Digital platforms
Talent
Literacy
Ideas
Intuition
Knowledge
Patents
Trademarks
Copyrights
Trade secrets
Style
Trust
Emotions
Mood
Intuition
Concepts
Family
Friendship
Brand image
Brand recognition
Well-being
Digital media
Digital messages
Digital advertising
Digital marketing
Virtual reality
Artificial intelligence
Broadcasts
Podcasts
Video games
Music
Films
Videos
Social media
Stories
Fictional characters
Humor
Freedom
Rights
Privacy
Safety
Security
Ideology
Democracy
Capitalism
Rule of law
Civility
Citizenship
Nationality
Data
Customer lists
Reviews & ratings
Strategies
Goals
Discipline
Leadership
Personal presence
Personality
Character
Loyalty
Licenses
Permits
Agreements
Processes
Culture
Norms
Aesthetics
Attitudes
Etiquette
Politeness
Respect
Ambition
Opinions
Values
Morals
Thoughts
Behavior
Ethics
Principles
Beliefs
Customs
Traditions
Lifestyle
Quality of life
Social class
Money
Roles
Responsibility
Accountability
Hierarchies
Spirituality
Symbols
Competitive advantage

Ideas

Ideas and thought processes have no physical form. For example, an abstract concept such as freedom.

Emotion

Human emotions such as pride, envy and love.

Talent

The abilities of people.

Knowledge

Information that exists in the mind.

Data

Information that is represented in a digital form.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property such as trademarks, copyrights and patents.

Trade Secrets

Valuable know-how that is protected by secrecy as opposed to legal rights.

Brand

The recognition, image and reputation of a brand can be worth many billions of dollars but has no physical form. The value of a brand extends from the impressions it has made on the minds of customers and other stakeholders such as employees and investors.

Money

Most of the world's money exists as the records of banks and has no physical form. This can often be exchanged for a physical money such as a dollar bill.

Financial Assets

Financial assets are often represented as securities, derivatives and other contracts that don't necessarily have a physical form although they often represent ownership or rights in something physical.

Experience

An experience such as visiting a theme park.

Events

A unique and limited-time experience such as a concert or business conference.

Services

A product that mostly offers intangible value. For example, a high speed train that transports people. Advanced economies are shifting towards services and away from physical products. Physical products will always exist but the vast majority of future value creation is likely to be intangible.

Digital Products

Items that were traditionally sold as a physical product that can now be downloaded as a digital item. For example, an ebook.

Digital Environments

Digital places that can be experienced despite the fact they do not physically exist. For example, a game or virtual event.

Software

Software is digital functionality that is stored as data.

Communication

Communication is increasingly electronic and is often paperless. For example, a voice call or a text message.

Media

Entertainment, information and publications are typically digital with rare exceptions such as a physical newspaper.

Education & Training

Education and training offer intangible value such as knowledge, cultivation of talent, experience and development of social connections.

Knowledge Work

Work products that have no physical form such as a strategy, plan, design, decision, advice, diagnosis, communication or software code. Employment in advanced economies is shifting from physical work to knowledge work such that most work products have no physical form.

Culture

Culture can be tangible such as a historical building or intangible such as a language.

Society

A society relies on tangible things such as infrastructure and intangible things such as civility.

Norms

The fluid rules of a society or culture. Unlike laws or regulations, norms are informal and occur spontaneously as a social process.

Values

The principles of a society, culture, group or individual that allow for peace, productivity and pursuit of happiness.

Shared Experience

An experience that bonds individuals together as a group. For example, a hardship that produces stronger social bonds between families, friends, community members or coworkers.

Identity

The ability of a person to feel that they share things in common with others based on shared characteristics or experiences. At the most fundamental level, people typically identify as human such that they have sympathy and respect for other people.

Art, Film & Music

Creative outputs that have cultural and artistic value often have no physical form. It can also be said that a physical work of art such as a painting derives most of its value from the intangible experience of viewing the art as opposed to being a physical product. For example, a digital image of a painting can be enjoyed much like the painting itself whereas a digital image of a tractor has little value compared to the physical machine.

Quality of Life

The extent to which people are satisfied by life measured with concepts such as happiness and self-fulfillment.

Summary

Overview: Intangible Things
Type
Definition
Entities that have no physical form.
Related Concepts
Next: Concepts
More intangible things:
Brand Image
Branding
Civility
Communication
Culture
Data
Happiness
Ideas
Infrastructure
Intangible Things
Know-how
Knowledge
Knowledge Work
Media
Money
Norms
Productivity
Quality Of Life
Services
Society
Software
Talent
Tangible
Trade Secrets
Value
Value Creation
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