January 9

Scott Anderson

How ‘Market-Creating Innovations’ Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty: A Q&A with Efosa Ojomo

In late 2019, I had the opportunity to meet, interview and learn from Efosa Ojomo, a senior research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute, who was a featured speaker at the University of Michigan (where NextBillion is headquartered). You may have heard Ojomo’s name in the context of his 2019 book, co-written with Clayton Christensen, “The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty.” Or you may have heard of him from his recent TED Talk, “Reducing Corruption Takes a Specific Kind of Investment” which recently passed 1.3 million views. Or perhaps it was his recent column in Quartz: “How Africa can “entrepreneur” its way out of bad leadership and the vital role of innovation.”

However you’ve encountered Ojomo’s insights, I suspect you will hear more from him in 2020. 

Originally from Nigeria, Ojomo leads the Christensen Institute’s Global Prosperity research and works to help entrepreneurs, policy makers and development practitioners stimulate economic prosperity in their regions. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

In “The Prosperity Paradox,” Ojomo, Christensen and fellow author Karen Dillon, former editor of Harvard Business Review magazine, explain why many economic development models fail, and how the right kind of innovation can build businesses and lift up countries. 

One of the outgrowths of the book is what Ojomo is calling a Market-Creating Innovation Lab. Just yesterday he blogged about the new strategy behind the lab. He explained that it will seek to create new partnerships with venture funds, foundations, corporations and local governments “to develop a structure that bridges the gap between emerging market entrepreneurs and market-creating innovation opportunities.”

To learn more about his book, his thoughts on the value of market-creating innovation, and what it means for global development and social business practitioners, please check out our interview with him below.



Scott Anderson is a contributing editor at NextBillion.




employment, innovation, interviews