The six degrees of innovation

Innovation is changing businesses and has the potential to create new market leaders. As a result, there is more pressure than ever for businesses, big and small, to ensure they continue to deliver innovation.

Why is one company consistently more innovative than another? What role can technology play in facilitating innovation? And what are the best business models that allow a company to develop and thrive?

Seeking insights to help answer these questions, AT&T commissioned a report with the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School to find out if it’s possible to predict where innovation occurs in business.

>See also: 9 common ways that businesses inhibit innovation

The report’s author, Stelios Kavadias, professor of enterprise studies in innovation and growth, looked at innovations across several industries and identified six business model traits that occur in successful companies that deliver innovation through the use of technology.

Organisations can use one or more of these ‘six degrees of innovation’ to transform their business models and compete more effectively.

1. Tailor-made products and services that meet customers’ individual needs

The greater diversity in consumer preferences mean that it is more important than ever for businesses to offer a tailored service to their customers.

2. Sustainability initiatives that minimise waste and manage resource costs

Many global energy services providers use metering solutions, typically linked to the Internet of Things (IoT), to allow consumers to monitor and modify their usage of electricity.

Similarly, new water monitoring solutions that use sensors and wireless communications to look for leaks in water pipes help minimise waste of precious water resources.

3. Jointly owned assets, such as peer-to-peer businesses

Ride-hailing app companies are perhaps the best-known examples of the growth of the sharing economy. Mobility and connectivity allow customers to connect with drivers when and where they need the car service.

4. Only paying for the service that is used

Many fitness-sharing start-ups exemplify this innovative model. Instead of investing in a membership for a single fitness studio, subscribers pay a fixed monthly fee to use the facilities of a wide range of local gyms and other fitness providers.

5. Effective monitoring of supply chains

This may involve handheld tracking systems or IoT technologies. For example, Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping lines, use IoT connected sensors to enable the tracking and monitoring of nearly 280,000 refrigerated containers containing perishable goods.

Maersk gains real-time visibility of its stock, ensuring it gets to customers in the right state without the time-consuming and expensive need for manual checks. This is one of the largest Industrial IoT deployments of its kind.

>See also: How to use open innovation to find new products

6. Using data to easily adapt to customer needs

Applications of this kind could include a clothing retailer using customer feedback to tweak its designs or a healthcare provider integrating patient records to eliminate unnecessary tests.

However, data analytics is also being used in other environments, such as the high-octane world of Formula One racing. For example, AT&T technologies have helped Infiniti Red Bull Racing use advanced analytics to refine the design of their F1 car throughout the season and to optimise performance on the track during each race.


Sourced from John Vladimir Slamecka, regional VP, EMEA, AT&T

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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