Efosa Ojomo

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Champion for Creating Economic Prosperity Through Innovation; Leading Authority on Market-Creating Innovations; Co-Author, with Clayton Christensen and Karen Dillon, “The Prosperity Paradox” (2019); Senior Research Fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation; Co-Founder & President, Poverty Stops Here

Biography

How can business tap into unrealized sources of growth and prosperity – all while making the world a better place? Efosa Ojomo, renowned innovation and development expert, says that innovation and entrepreneurs are not just part of the answer. They are the answer. Through his eye-opening keynotes and advisory work, Ojomo equips businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, NGOs and policymakers with a new framework for understanding and addressing the issue of how to create prosperity in emerging markets. And for the companies that embrace this perspective, the opportunities are infinite.

As a senior research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, Ojomo has collaborated with renowned authority Clayton Christensen to formulate a new theory of economic development. At the heart of this new perspective is the transformative power of market-creating innovations. By understanding the many “jobs” that arise in consumers’ lives, entrepreneurs and organizations can better develop innovations that consumers can hire to help them accomplish these jobs. These innovations generate new markets where none previously existed. In the process, they have the potential to uplift entire populations in the form of new jobs, external investment and individual empowerment.

In their groundbreaking new book, “The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty” (Harper Business, January 2019), Ojomo, Christensen and co-author Karen Dillon reveal actionable solutions to growing sustainable economies. “The Prosperity Paradox” expertly offers cases of successful market-creating innovations, including the Ford Model T, which made cars accessible to ordinary Americans, and Tolaram instant noodles, an inexpensive, convenient food made available to millions of Nigerians, rich and poor. Essentially, what Nigeria and other low- and middle-income countries need (and what America needed when it was still a poor country) is not for well-meaning charities and NGOs to “push” resources into its communities but for innovations to pull” those resources in. “The Prosperity Paradox” was awarded an Axiom Business Book Awards “Gold Medal” in the category of Business Ethics for 2019, in addition to numerous other positive reviews in popular, business and academic media. Drawing on the acclaimed book, Ojomo provides organizations with a clear framework for spotting and capitalizing on nonconsumption while generating massive gains for the company and the people who live in those regions.

Ojomo’s commitment to shifting the conversation on international development, from providing resources to developing innovations, is deeply personal, and is rooted in his own previous endeavors. 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. Having grown up amid poverty, 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. He soon realized that while charities and non-profits can do incredible work helping vulnerable people, many generally failed to significantly improve people’s lives at scale. At this point he decided to go back to school to get the education he needed to fulfill his goals. He applied and was accepted to the Harvard Business School in 2013, and it was there that he met his future mentor and co-author, Clayton Christensen. After graduating with his MBA in 2015 and working as a research fellow with Christensen, Ojomo joined the Christensen Institute, where he aimed to apply theories of innovation that had revolutionized the business world to the task of solving the economic development puzzle. Ojomo leverages his personal history as a powerful complement to his meticulous 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, where he worked as a researcher under Professor Christensen at the Forum for Growth and Innovation.

Efosa Ojomo is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Videos

Books & Research

The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty

(HarperBusiness, January 2019)

Media

Clayton Christensen Institute logo

Efosa Ojomo's Blog for the Christensen Institute

medium dotcom logo

Efosa Ojomo's Blog for Medium

Can Corruption Ever Be Eliminated in the World? Boss Tweed and Napster Show a Counterintuitive Path Forward

April 3, 2019

Efosa Ojomo Turns Theory Into Hope - The Prosperity Paradox (Audio)

March 14, 2019

Deseret News logo

Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty

March 14, 2019

Want to End Poverty? Go Easy on the Aid

March 5, 2019

Harvard Business Review logo

How Innovative Companies Help Frontier Markets Grow (Audio)

February 19, 2019

Want to Foster Prosperity? Focus on Market-Creating Innovation

February 14, 2019

Getting to Yes, And... (Audio)

February 12, 2019

Efosa Ojomo on Harnessing Disruptive Innovation for International Prosperity

February 7, 2019

A Brilliant New Book, The Prosperity Paradox, Has the Secret to Africa's Success: Innovation!

February 2, 2019

Wall Street Journal logo

"The Prosperity Paradox" Review: A Better Way to Fight Poverty

January 30, 2019

Entrepreneurs Can Have a Direct Impact on the Eradication of Extreme Poverty in the World. Here's How.

January 25, 2019

Poverty Data Never Tells the Whole Story

January 22, 2019

Efosa Ojomo on Creating Prosperity From Poverty (Video)

January 18, 2019

Fortune logo

How 1850's America Offers a Model for Escaping Poverty

January 17, 2019

The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations out of Poverty

January 15, 2019

What a Global Prosperity Researcher Learned about Failure in his Mission to End World Poverty

January 15, 2019

How We Build National Institutions Plays a Crucial Role in Ensuring Prosperity for Developing Nations

January 15, 2019

Inc

How 1 Company - and its Insanely Popular and Cheap Noodles - Transformed Nigeria

January 11, 2019

Innovation is the Answer

January 7, 2019

New England Doesn't Need New Factories. But It Does Need New Ideas

January 2, 2019

Inc

10 Business Books You Need to Read in 2019

January 2, 2019

Innovation Guru Clayton Christensen Calls for Korea to be More Disruptive

January 1, 2019

Harvard Business Review logo

Cracking Frontier Markets

January/February 2019

Linkedin Logo

Drucker Forum 2018: The Power of Pull vs. Push in Innovation

December 13, 2018

Africa Needs Market-Creating Innovation Approach to Deal With Poverty

December 10, 2018

Innovators Are Africa's Only Real Hope for Prosperity

September 20, 2018

Serving The Average African

May 1, 2018

Emerging from the Prosperity Paradox: The Future of Latin America’s Development

February 8, 2018

Why Fixing Global Education is the Right Step Toward Economic Prosperity

May 4, 2017

For African Countries, Innovation Must Trump Our Focus On Trade

March 15, 2017

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

medium dotcom logo

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

medium dotcom logo

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

medium dotcom logo

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

December 28, 2015

medium dotcom logo

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

December 21, 2015

medium dotcom logo

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

November 4, 2015

medium dotcom logo

A Research Project on Fostering Market Creating Innovations in Africa

October 18, 2015

A-Z Name

Ojomo, Efosa

Biography

How can business tap into unrealized sources of growth and prosperity – all while making the world a better place? Efosa Ojomo, renowned innovation and development expert, says that innovation and entrepreneurs are not just part of the answer. They are the answer. Through his eye-opening keynotes and advisory work, Ojomo equips businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, NGOs and policymakers with a new framework for understanding and addressing the issue of how to create prosperity in emerging markets. And for the companies that embrace this perspective, the opportunities are infinite.

As a senior research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, Ojomo has collaborated with renowned authority Clayton Christensen to formulate a new theory of economic development. At the heart of this new perspective is the transformative power of market-creating innovations. By understanding the many “jobs” that arise in consumers’ lives, entrepreneurs and organizations can better develop innovations that consumers can hire to help them accomplish these jobs. These innovations generate new markets where none previously existed. In the process, they have the potential to uplift entire populations in the form of new jobs, external investment and individual empowerment.

In their groundbreaking new book, “The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty” (Harper Business, January 2019), Ojomo, Christensen and co-author Karen Dillon reveal actionable solutions to growing sustainable economies. “The Prosperity Paradox” expertly offers cases of successful market-creating innovations, including the Ford Model T, which made cars accessible to ordinary Americans, and Tolaram instant noodles, an inexpensive, convenient food made available to millions of Nigerians, rich and poor. Essentially, what Nigeria and other low- and middle-income countries need (and what America needed when it was still a poor country) is not for well-meaning charities and NGOs to “push” resources into its communities but for innovations to pull” those resources in. “The Prosperity Paradox” was awarded an Axiom Business Book Awards “Gold Medal” in the category of Business Ethics for 2019, in addition to numerous other positive reviews in popular, business and academic media. Drawing on the acclaimed book, Ojomo provides organizations with a clear framework for spotting and capitalizing on nonconsumption while generating massive gains for the company and the people who live in those regions.

Ojomo’s commitment to shifting the conversation on international development, from providing resources to developing innovations, is deeply personal, and is rooted in his own previous endeavors. 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. Having grown up amid poverty, 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. He soon realized that while charities and non-profits can do incredible work helping vulnerable people, many generally failed to significantly improve people’s lives at scale. At this point he decided to go back to school to get the education he needed to fulfill his goals. He applied and was accepted to the Harvard Business School in 2013, and it was there that he met his future mentor and co-author, Clayton Christensen. After graduating with his MBA in 2015 and working as a research fellow with Christensen, Ojomo joined the Christensen Institute, where he aimed to apply theories of innovation that had revolutionized the business world to the task of solving the economic development puzzle. Ojomo leverages his personal history as a powerful complement to his meticulous 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, where he worked as a researcher under Professor Christensen at the Forum for Growth and Innovation.

Efosa Ojomo is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty

What is innovation’s role in lifting nations out of poverty and placing them firmly on a path toward prosperity? How can entrepreneurs and investors, development experts and policy makers, and government officials focus on the type of innovation that can create lasting growth and prosperity for companies and nations? Efosa Ojomo explains the critical role of innovation in not only helping nations escape poverty, but also in creating prosperity. 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 is not happening as fast and as sustainable as many would like. Using theories and models developed by Professor Clayton Christensen and his team, Ojomo explains this prosperity paradox. Instead of solving visible signs of poverty by pushing resources onto poor countries, says Ojomo, businesses and entrepreneurs must pull resources in through new innovations that create markets of consumers where none previously existed. In this presentation, based on Ojomo’s book (with Christensen and Karen Dillon) “The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty” (Harper Business, January 2019), he offers a new strategy for economic development.

Disruptive Innovation in Emerging Markets

Drawing from his path-breaking research with Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen, Efosa Ojomo reveals how entrepreneurs, multinational corporations, and investors can target disruptive innovations in emerging market. In so doing, these disruptive innovations will not only generate immense growth for companies, but they also lay the foundation for sustainable and long-term economic development of countries. As Ojomo explains, innovation isn’t simply something that happens on the fringes of society after society “fixes” itself, that is, after society builds its infrastructures and develops its courts, legislatures, financial markets, etc. Instead, innovation is the process by which society develops itself. It is precisely through disruptive innovations that create, or connect to, new markets that societies can create jobs, pay taxes, and build their infrastructures and institutions. 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.

Understanding Innovation: Not All Innovations Are Created Equal

While the word “innovation” has become popular and is now seen as good for society, the word has also taken on many different meanings. In Efosa Ojomo’s talks, he rescues the word from its overuse and provides a simple framework that helps managers, policy makers, and organizations understand both the meaning and the different types of innovation. According to his research with Professor Christensen, there are three types of innovation, and although all are important for an economy to flourish, each has a vastly different impact on society. The three types of innovations are: market-creating (disruptive), sustaining, and efficiency. In his informative talks, Ojomo breaks down the major differences among these types of innovation, provides examples, and shows how firms can target market-creating innovations for growth. Research by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen and Efosa Ojomo – crystallized in their groundbreaking book (with Karen Dillon) “The Prosperity Paradox ” – reveals that the key to success is targeting non-consumption through market-creating innovations. By doing so, firms can develop highly 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 non-consumers.

Media

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Books & Research

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Recommendations

Advance Praise for “The Prosperity Paradox”

“Christensen, Ojomo and Dillon provide an original view on how to combat global poverty in their insightful book, The Prosperity Paradox. It’s an inspiring read on why innovation is one of the most powerful tools we have to help the millions around the world living in poverty.”

—Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, OECD

The Prosperity Paradox by Clayton Christensen, Efosa Ojomo and Karen Dillon is a timely must-read on the mindset change that turns poverty into opportunity and enables the creation of sustainable prosperity. As World Bank Treasurer, I saw first-hand how the innovative approaches described in this compelling easy to read primer empowers development practitioners and businesses to seek out these profitable opportunities.”

—Arunma Oteh, World Bank Treasurer (30th September 2015 to 30th November 2018)

“I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Christensen, Ojomo, and Dillon deeply understand both the challenges and opportunities of innovating in unexpected places – and the satisfaction of creating a market that enables prosperity to thrive.”

—Richard Leftley, chief executive officer of MicroEnsure

The Prosperity Paradox will fundamentally change the conversation about the role of philanthropy in development. As Christensen, Ojomo, and Dillon capture perfectly, to tackle truly important problems, we need to reset our current thinking. Market-creating innovation needs to play a critical role in enabling a path out of poverty through market-driven solutions. Most foundations do not exercise the power they have to provide catalytic capital to engage in high-risk ventures that may unlock sustainable replicable and scalable game-changing solutions.”

—Irene Pritzker, President & Chief Executive Officer, IDP Foundation, Inc

“Clayton Christensen’s latest book The Prosperity Paradox is a must-read. Powerful, persuasive, and wonderfully written, Christensen and his coauthors make a compelling case for the game-changing role of innovation in some of the world’s most desperate economies.”

—Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Google and Alphabet

The Prosperity Paradox has the power to transform our thinking about philanthropy and social good. As we continue to grapple with how to lift people out of poverty, Clay Christensen, Efosa Ojomo and Karen Dillon provide a new and innovative solution for millions of people around the world. It’s a must-read for anyone with an interest in global affairs who wants to create a truly thriving society.”

—Arianna Huffington, Founder & CEO, Thrive Global

The Prosperity Paradox perfectly illustrates the need for investment and support for local innovators. Christensen, Ojomo and Dillon show how real entrepreneurs have created booming businesses in low- and middle-income countries, while generating economic growth. This book is necessary for any entrepreneur who wants to create positive and lasting change, and for any government official or investor who wants a better way to spur global development.”

—Matias Recchia, co-founder and CEO of IguanaFix

“The Prosperity Paradox is a manifesto and a call to action for those who recognize that our survival depends on creating opportunity. This book will help innovators be more compassionate. And the compassionate be more innovative.”

—Tom Fletcher, CMG, former UK Ambassador and author of The Naked Diplomat

“Prosperity Paradox is the most important business/management book since Peter Drucker. It will dramatically change all initiatives on development and well beyond–starting with venture capital and entrepreneurship. It is a must-read for anyone who cares about sustainable economic development.”

—Eduardo Braun, Leader of the Advisory Board, Buenos Aires Innovation Park and author of People First Leadership

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Intro Video

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The Poverty Paradox: Why Most Poverty Programs Fail And How To Fix Them | Efosa Ojomo | TEDxGaborone