Efosa Ojomo

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Champion for Creating Economic Prosperity through Disruptive Innovation; Research Fellow, Forum for Growth and Innovation at Harvard Business School; Founder & President, Poverty Stops Here

Biography

Focusing his work at the intersection of innovation and economic development, Efosa Ojomo is on a mission to use business to alleviate poverty and create prosperity.

A senior researcher at the Forum for Growth and Innovation at the Harvard Business School (HBS), Ojomo works alongside colleague and mentor Professor Clay Christensen in their shared goal to discover, develop and disseminate robust and accessible theory in the areas of disruptive innovation and general management. Ojomo’s body of work will ultimately help entrepreneurs, policy makers and development practitioners spur prosperity in their regions.

Specifically, Ojomo’s research examines how emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, and Asia can engender prosperity for their citizens by focusing on investments in market creating innovations, such as M-PESA, the mobile money transfer platform in Kenya. These innovations, which transform complicated and/or expensive products into simpler and less expensive products for populations who historically could not access them, are unique for their ability to spur long-term economic growth and create employment, a necessary condition for economic development.

Ojomo, who came to the U.S. from Nigeria to attend college, worked as an engineer and in business development for National Instruments for eight years following graduation. He soon realized his purpose was much larger than himself. Inspired by a young Ethiopian girl’s story of debilitating poverty, Ojomo started the nonprofit Poverty Stops Here. Since then, he has rallied hundreds of people around his vision and touched the lives of hundreds more. But his ambition is to transform lives; his work at HBS is getting him closer to that goal.

Born in Nigeria, Ojomo knows first-hand the effects of poverty. He leverages his personal experiences and marries them with his research. A zealous learner and passionate teacher, he is as inspirational as he is informative.

Ojomo graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University with a degree in computer engineering. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.

Videos

Books & Research

Articles

Clayton Christensen Institute logo

Efosa Ojomo's Blog for the Christensen Institute

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Efosa Ojomo's Blog for Medium

Obsession With Ending Poverty is Where Development is Going Wrong

February 8, 2017

PR Web logo

The Clayton Christensen Institute Launches New Research Area: Global Prosperity

January 10, 2017

Harvard Business Review logo

Africa’s New Generation of Innovators

January 2017

Harvard Business Review logo

6 Signs You’re Living in an Entrepreneurial Society

October 4, 2016

Podcast: Agriculture: The Once And Future King Of Nigeria With Folusho Olaniyan

July 2016

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For Africa, There Can Be No Development Without Disruptors

June 28, 2016

Non-Consumption Is Your Fiercest Competition - And It Is Winning (Pages 37-42)

Summer 2016

Disrupting Malaria: How Fyodor Biotechnologies is Changing the Game

June 15, 2016

Disruptive Entrepreneurs vs. Survival Entrepreneurship: Only One of These Can Catapult Africa From Poverty to Prosperity

June 15, 2016

The Disruptive Voice Podcast: The Capabilities and Limitations of the World Bank Through the Lens of Innovation Theory

June 8, 2016

Disruptive Innovation: The Most Viable Strategy of Economic Development in Africa

May 5, 2016

The Disruptive Voice Podcast: Rethinking Primary and Secondary Education in Nigeria with Michael Horn

April 2016

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How One Man is Using Disruptive Innovation to Transform Higher Education in Nigeria… and Why He Will Succeed

March 1, 2016

The Disruptive Voice Podcast: Higher Education in Nigeria Today - For the Lucky Few, Often Only with Marginal Upside

March 2016

The Disruptive Voice Podcast: Efosa Ojomo and What RPP's Think of Building Wells

February 2016

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How One Company Defied the Odds and is Grossing Almost $1 Billion in Revenue… in Nigeria — Part 2

December 28, 2015

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How One Company Defied the Odds and is Grossing Almost $1 Billion in Revenue… in Nigeria — Part 1

December 21, 2015

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Innovation > Infrastructure. America’s Tudor and Nigeria’s Dangote Would Agree.

November 4, 2015

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A Research Project on Fostering Market Creating Innovations in Africa

October 18, 2015

A-Z Name

Ojomo, Efosa

Biography

Focusing his work at the intersection of innovation and economic development, Efosa Ojomo is on a mission to use business to alleviate poverty and create prosperity.

A senior researcher at the Forum for Growth and Innovation at the Harvard Business School (HBS), Ojomo works alongside colleague and mentor Professor Clay Christensen in their shared goal to discover, develop and disseminate robust and accessible theory in the areas of disruptive innovation and general management. Ojomo’s body of work will ultimately help entrepreneurs, policy makers and development practitioners spur prosperity in their regions.

Specifically, Ojomo’s research examines how emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, and Asia can engender prosperity for their citizens by focusing on investments in market creating innovations, such as M-PESA, the mobile money transfer platform in Kenya. These innovations, which transform complicated and/or expensive products into simpler and less expensive products for populations who historically could not access them, are unique for their ability to spur long-term economic growth and create employment, a necessary condition for economic development.

Ojomo, who came to the U.S. from Nigeria to attend college, worked as an engineer and in business development for National Instruments for eight years following graduation. He soon realized his purpose was much larger than himself. Inspired by a young Ethiopian girl’s story of debilitating poverty, Ojomo started the nonprofit Poverty Stops Here. Since then, he has rallied hundreds of people around his vision and touched the lives of hundreds more. But his ambition is to transform lives; his work at HBS is getting him closer to that goal.

Born in Nigeria, Ojomo knows first-hand the effects of poverty. He leverages his personal experiences and marries them with his research. A zealous learner and passionate teacher, he is as inspirational as he is informative.

Ojomo graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University with a degree in computer engineering. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.

Speech Topics

Dissecting the Development Dilemma

Every year, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on development projects, commissioned by some of the smartest and most passionate development professionals with years of experience. But somehow, progress in development, as measured by poor countries becoming more prosperous, is very slow, explains Efosa Ojomo. Many of the poorest countries 50 years ago are still poor today. In fact, according to data from the International Monetary Fund, some are poorer today than they were in the 1960s. Using theories and models developed by Professor Clayton Christensen and his team, Ojomo explains the underlying causes of this slow progress. He also offers insights as to how investors, entrepreneurs and policy makers (including many development practitioners) can reverse this trend. It will change the way you look at economic development.

Disruptive Innovation in Emerging Markets

In the past, there has been no clear consensus on why the “Great Divergence” – or the economic prosperity of the West over the past several centuries – occurred. Some point to environmental factors; others suggest culture and religion; and many spotlight the economic exploits of the West. Indeed, many of these factors correlate with prosperity, but none get to what causes prosperity. Drawing from his path-breaking research with Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen, Efosa Ojomo reveals the causal mechanism: investments in disruptive innovation. He explores how such innovations suddenly made available products that were out of reach for the average citizen, leading firms to hire people to make, sell and service the products. As Ojomo discusses, this same pattern can be seen with the economic successes of the Four Asian Tigers, Japan, and most recently China. Ojomo provides unique insights as to how firms can successfully invest in and manage disruptive innovations in emerging markets. He also provides frameworks for policy makers as to how they can adopt principles and theories of innovation in order to spur the development of their economies.

Creating Business Models that Flourish in Emerging Markets

The 34 countries that make up the OECD (18% of the world’s population) account for 63% of global GDP. While growth in emerging markets is increasing, high-income countries still dominate global production and consumption. How can business leaders create more vibrant markets for the almost 6 billion people who do not live in the OECD countries? How can they create business models that target the specific circumstances in which many of the citizens in these countries live? Research by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen and Efosa Ojomo reveals that the key to success is targeting non-consumption. By doing so, firms are able to develop very profitable business models in emerging markets. Drawing on countless case studies, Ojomo shares frameworks for both spotting non-consumption and for building a business model that is laser focused on going after the spotted non-consumption.

Articles

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