Learn More About Efosa Ojomo
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.
The director of Global Prosperity at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation named to the Thinkers50 Radar Class of 2020, Ojomo collaborated with the late 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. As seen in his exceptional TED talk, which has more than 2 million views and has been translated into 17 languages, 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. Putting research into practice, the Christensen Institute, in collaboration with the MIT Legatum Center, will launch a market creating innovation bootcamp, an eight-session curriculum designed to empower emerging market innovators with principles and frameworks necessary to create new markets that make products affordable.
In their groundbreaking book, “The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty” (Harper Business, January 2019), Ojomo, the late Clayton Christensen and 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, the late 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, and he currently serves on an investment committee of a $40 million fund focused on investing in market-creating innovations across Africa. 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 the late Professor Christensen at the Forum for Growth and Innovation. He is currently an adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where he teaches the Entrepreneurship and Market Creation in Emerging Markets course.
Efosa Ojomo is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.