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‘Six Degrees of Innovation’; the Six Business Model Features Companies Need To Innovate

Research supported by AT&T reveals predictive model for innovation

June 25, 2015 — AT&T commissioned a study to help companies innovate and make the most of technology. The results show that innovation happens where companies have one or more of six business model traits – “Six Degrees of Innovation”.

The University of Cambridge Judge Business School carried out the research. They studied how new technology and market demand have combined and led to business innovation.  The aim was to see if there were any common characteristics in the businesses that did succeed.

The business school looked at a number of industries and found shared patterns in companies that have innovated through the use of technology.

The shared patterns, or Six Degrees of Innovation, are:

  1. Tailor-made products and services that meet customers’ individual needs; such as downloading personalized apps to a mobile phone.
  2. Sustainability; where companies minimize waste and manage resource costs.
  3. Jointly owned assets; such as peer-to-peer businesses.
  4. Only paying for service that is used; such as car-share companies.
  5. Effective monitoring of supply chains; such as businesses which use handheld tracking systems to better monitor their operations.
  6. Using data to easily adapt to customer needs; such as clothing companies that can quickly produce new designs to meet fashion trends.

Cambridge Judge Business School interviewed senior executives from leading international companies. The executives spanned the oil & gas, banking & financial services, retail, transportation & logistics, education and healthcare sectors.

The research looks at the trends that will drive growth in each sector. For example, in the retail sector; mobile technology and data analytics will help retailers transform the customer experience they offer.

Steve McGaw, AT&T’s Chief Marketing Officer, AT&T Business Solutions, said: “At AT&T we are always trying to better understand how innovation happens, so we can help companies lead their industries. The Six Degrees of Innovation is a tool for executive teams to adapt their business models and adopt the right technology to succeed.” Watch Steve McGaw’s response here.

Stelios Kavadias, Cambridge Judge Business School’s Professor of Enterprise Studies in Innovation & Growth, said: “This is the most comprehensive study we have ever undertaken on innovation. The Six Degrees of Innovation are present in successful innovators across all industry sectors. We believe this concept breaks new ground in identifying how and why transformational innovation occurs.” Watch Professor Stelios Kavadias’s response here