Some examples from HBS:
Valuable resources can take a variety of forms, including some overlooked by the narrower conceptions of core competence and capabilities. They can be physical, like the wire into your house. Potentially, both the telephone and cable companies are in a very strong position to succeed in the brave new world of interactive multimedia because they own the on-ramp to the information superhighway. Or valuable resources may be intangible, such as brand names or technological know-how. The Walt Disney Company, for example, holds a unique consumer franchise that makes Disney a success in a slew of businesses, from soft toys to theme parks to videos. Similarly, Sharp’s knowledge of flat-panel display technology has enabled it to dominate the $7 billion worldwide liquid crystal display (LCD) business. Or the valuable resource may be an organizational capabilityembedded in a company’s routines, processes, and culture. Take, for example, the skills of the Japanese automobile companies—first in low-cost, lean manufacturing; next in high-quality production; and then in fast product development. These capabilities, built up over time, transform otherwise pedestrian or commodity inputs into superior products and make the companies that have developed them successful in the global market.