The Prosperity Paradox
How innovation can lift nations out of poverty
Global poverty is one of the world’s most vexing problems, but there is a paradox at the heart of our approach to solving poverty. While noble, our current solutions are not producing consistent results, and in some cases, have exacerbated the problem. Applying the rigorous and theory-driven analysis, the Prosperity Paradox suggests a better way. We assert that the right kind of innovation can not only build companies–but build countries. In The Prosperity Paradox, we identify the limits of common economic development models, which tend to be top-down efforts, and offer a new framework for economic growth based on entrepreneurship and market-creating innovation.
The ideas in this book will help companies desperate for real, long-term growth see actual, sustainable progress where they’ve failed before. But The Prosperity Paradox is more than a business book; it is a call to action for anyone who wants a fresh take for making the world a better and more prosperous place.
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Clay worked as a missionary for his church in the Republic of Korea from 1971 to 1973, where he learned to speak fluent Korean. He continues to serve in his church in as many ways as he can.
Prior to joining HBR, she was deputy editor of Inc., a monthly magazine for entrepreneurs, for which she managed its 37-person editorial staff. Previously she was editor and publisher of the critically acclaimed The American Lawyer, which was also honored repeatedly by the National Magazine Awards during her tenure. While at The American Lawyer, she also spent four years in London as the editor of its European affiliate, Legal Business, which was named Editorial Team of the Year by the U.K. Press Gazette in 1994. She was also named Feature Writer of the Year runner-up by the U.K. Press Gazette in 1993.
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 the Christensen Institute is getting him closer to that goal.
Ojomo graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University with a degree in computer engineering. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.
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