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Efosa Ojomo on market-creating innovation and overcoming barriers to consumption

This is a powerful lens for thinking about how to unlock possibilities and bring about change, drawing on the work of Clayton Christensen.

Market creating innovations are innovations that transform complicated and expensive products into products that are simple and affordable so many more people can afford them.

Those people who historically could not afford existing products on the market but whose lives would be benefited by them are called non-consumers. These are people that are not consuming products that could help their lives get better, and the phenomenon is called non-consumption.

… [We can overcome non-consumption by really understanding] the job to be done: really putting yourself in the shoe of a non-consumer of a particular product or service and not assuming that they have no need for this thing, whatever this new gadget or this product is: they have no need for education, or healthcare, or a new ID, or a cellphone. But [instead asking] “What are the barriers to consumption?”

And when your business model can ask that question – “What is the job to be done for this person [and] what are the barriers to consuming this particular product or service that can help them fulfill the job to be done – when those are your questions and you begin to see the world in an entirely different way, you don’t necessarily know what the answers are immediately, but you’re asking different questions.

Typically there are four main barriers for consumption. The first is the one we all know, it’s money. So if you can’t afford something, that’s a big barrier.

The second is access: it’s just not available in my sphere, in my vicinity – like a hospital or clinic where you have to go really far.

The third is time: it just takes too much time to consume.

The fourth is skill. So when I actually consume the product or when I purchase the product it takes way too much skill to actually use it, so that’s a barrier.

And in many African countries I would add a fifth factor, which is the government. It’s figuring out how to do you navigate that government entity, because that’s often talked about as a barrier.

And I think once you understand what the barriers to consumption are in helping you develop a business model, you can begin to think creatively about how, say, technology, how innovative business models can help you.

When you begin to ask those types of questions, entirely different, you create an entirely new market. And I think the beautiful thing about market creating innovations is, it has such a ripple effect on other parts of the economy that we can’t really predict the kind of impact it will have.

Efosa Ojomo Reflections on The Prosperity Paradox on The Disruptive Voice

Why aren’t the people you seek to serve ‘consuming’ the changes that you’re offering them?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...