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Grow Your Business Technology

Understanding Innovation: How Businesses Adopt New Technology

Understanding Innovation: How Businesses Adopt New Technology
Credit: chanpipat/Shutterstock

For business owners unsure of how to effectively incorporate new technology into their business models, life may have just become a little easier.

As part of a recent study, researchers at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School in the U.K. interviewed senior executives across the globe and  from a variety of sectors to find the common strategies that helped their companies innovate successfully to meet burgeoning trends in technology.

What they discovered was that innovation occurs when business models match up with one or more of the six patterns where technological advances overlap with market needs, thus resulting in growth and transformation.  The study, which was commissioned by AT&T for the purpose of helping businesses across the globe better capitalize on the possibilities of new technology, calls these six points of overlap the Six Degrees of Innovation.

"This is the most comprehensive study we have ever undertaken on innovation,” said Stelios Kavadias, one of the study authors. "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 innovation occurs."

The Six Degrees of Innovation are:

  • Tailor-made products and services: Meeting customers' individual needs, such as online retailers' recommendation services.
  • Sustainability: Minimizing waste and managing resource costs, such as companies that harvest and recycle parts.
  • Jointly owned assets: Boosting efficiency and lowering costs, such as in peer-to-peer businesses.
  • Only paying for a service that is used: Saving money when possible; for example, by using car-share companies.
  • Effective monitoring of supply chains: Using handheld tracking systems to better monitor the supply chain, such as support-service companies.
  • Using data to easily adapt to customer needs: Staying fast on your feet; for example, clothing companies that maintain less inventory so they can quickly produce new designs to meet fashion trends.

These six points are meant to serve as a guide for business owners on how to both identify potential opportunities for transformative innovation and how to adapt to the constantly changing technologies and new electronic paradigms of today.

 "You can see technology and innovation changing every industry,” said Steve McGaw, AT&T chief marketing officer. "We're always trying to better understand the mechanics of innovation, so we can help companies lead their industries. The Six Degrees of Innovation provides a tool for executive teams to adapt their business models and adopt the right technology to succeed."