Book Review: The Prosperity Paradox by Clayton M. Christensen, Efosa Ojomo and Karen Dillon

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If you are in the innovation space this book is a must read, but innovation is broad, if you are in the development space, even more important that you get hold of this book.

Prof Clayton Christensen, Mr. Efosa Ojomo and Ms. Karen Dillon looks at the world from innovation lenses.

Do you want to create jobs? innovation.

Do you want to end poverty? Innovation.

Do you want to create prosperity? Innovation.

Do you have a question? the answer is… You guessed it: Innovation.

Innovation is the central theme of this book, but not just any innovation.

As they argue in the book, not all innovations are created equally, so market-creating innovation is the precise answer to the question.

I thoroughly enjoyed the case studies in this book. What the trio have done very well is provide case studies of companies from the USA, Japan, Mexico, and Africa.

Case studies from Henry Ford, Isaac Merritt Singer, George Eastman, Amadeo Gianni, to Sony, Toyota, and Mexico’s Clinicas del Azucar.

In Africa, there are case studies of Mo Ibrahim’s Celtel, South Africa’s 2010 Soccer World Cup, Bollyhood etc.

You will learn new concepts such as:

  • Nonconsumption
  • Market-creating innovations
  • Pull and push factors

There are chapters such as:

  • Not all innovations are created equal
  • In the Struggle lies Opportunities
  • America’s Innovation Story
  • How the East Met the West
  • Good Laws Are not Enough
  • Corruption is not the problem: It’s a solution

There is a section in the book that focuses on my home-country, South Africa and the 2010 World Cup that I enjoyed.

One other thing that stood out from the book is how it adopts a worldwide view when it comes to innovation. The examples and cases it uses are from almost all continents of the world.

When you are done reading the book, you are able to understand how innovation is applied throughout the world.

Rating

9/10

I highly recommend this book. If you are an entrepreneur, government official or anyone in the development space, you have to read it.

This book will alters how you look at innovation and development work. You will never be the same after reading this book.

I’m going to re-read it. I highlight books that I read and this book has so many highlights on it and I’m sure when I re-read it, I will highlight some more. It is going to be my working book going forward, it has so many nuggets to enjoy.

It is a practical book and provide concise and clear examples on how to create prosperity in any society.

I hope to put on the theories and framework as a set of lenses to enable myself to see the world differently.

This book is an inspiration to see the world differently.

Favourite Quotes

  • “This struggle often presents itself as “non consumption” where would-be consumers are desperate to make progress in a particular aspect of their lives, but there is no affordable and accessible solution to their problem.”
  • “Not all innovations are created equal.”
  • “Market creating innovations do exactly what the name implies, they create new markets. But not just any new markets, new markets that serve people for whom, either no products existed or existing products were neither affordable nor accessible for a variety of reasons.
  • “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust”

  • “The problem is, it is very difficult to “see” what you are not looking for. Many of our economic forecasts don’t necessarily help, they typically focus on what we call the “consumption economy,” the part of the economy that is most visible through conventional metrics.
  • “People are nonconsumers because they are struggling to accomplish something, but none of the available solutions are good options for them.”

  • “Development and prosperity take root when we develop innovations that pull in necessary resources a society requires.”
  • “If we create a market that successfully serves a growing population of nonconsumers, that market is likely to pull in many other resources an economy requires.”

  • Just because a nation is economically poor does not mean that vast market creation opportunities do not exist within its borders.
  • “If you build it, they may not come.”

 

 

 

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