A picture is worth a thousand words. In the informative introduction to this book, the authors Robert Kaplan and David Norton describe how, as part of evolving their balanced scorecard concept, they had developed a diagram for laying out an organisation's strategy.
They found that if they displayed the diagrams in a prominent location during the consultancy process, they attracted considerable attention from executives, thus ensuring their engagement. These diagrams became known as strategy maps.
As the title of the book states, the idea is to create value from intangible assets. They point out early on that intangible assets cannot exist in a vacuum. They need to be part of a value-creating process and Kaplan and Norton argue that the balanced scorecard - with its emphasis on combining focuses on shareholders, customers, internal processes and learning and development - is the best way to guarantee tangible outcomes.