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


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Research supported by AT&T reveals predictive model for innovation

DALLAS, June 25, 2015AT&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:

  • Tailor-made products and services that meet customers’ individual needs; such as downloading personalized apps to a mobile phone.
  • Sustainability ; where companies minimize waste and manage resource costs.
  • Jointly owned assets ; such as peer-to-peer businesses.
  • Only paying for service that is used ; such as car-share companies.
  • Effective monitoring of supply chains ; such as businesses which use handheld tracking systems to better monitor their operations.
  • 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.

Click here to view the full report, an infographic of the report and executive video responses.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

h claims based on nationwide carriers’ LTE. Signal strength claim based ONLY on avg. LTE signal strength. LTE not available everywhere.

*Global coverage claim based on offering voice and LTE data roaming in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier, and offering the most wireless smartphones and tablets that work in the most countries.

About The University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School

Cambridge Judge Business School leverages the power of academia for real world impact to transform individuals, organizations and society. Since 1990, Cambridge Judge has forged a reputation as a center of rigorous thinking and high-impact transformative education, situated within one of the world's most prestigious research universities, and in the heart of the Cambridge Cluster, the most successful technology entrepreneurship cluster in Europe. The School works with every student and partner or client organization at a deep level, identifying important problems and questions, challenging and coaching people to find answers, and creating new knowledge.

Cambridge Judge pursues innovation through inter-disciplinary insight, entrepreneurial spirit and collaboration. Cutting edge research is rooted in real-world challenges and students and clients are encouraged to ask excellent questions to create real-world change. Undergraduate, graduate and executive programs attract innovators, creative thinkers, thoughtful and collaborative problem-solvers, and current and future leaders, drawn from a huge diversity of backgrounds and countries.


Research methodology : The business school conducted the research in Autumn 2014/Spring 2015. The researchers reviewed academic journals, business and technology press coverage and conducted interviews with CIOs across six sectors. These included Oil & Gas, Banking & Financial Services, Retail, Transportation & Logistics, Education and Healthcare.

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