This guest blog is written by Jay Gerhart, Vice President of Consumer Strategy, Atrium Health, and co-host of the podcast “A Sherpa’s Guide to Innovation.” As part of Atrium Health’s Innovation Engine, Jay has a passion for applying the theories of Professor Christensen, human-centered design, and improv to drive consumer-focused innovation.
Readers of The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out Of Poverty by Clayton Christensen, Efosa Ojomo and Karen Dillion were introduced to Javier Lozano, founder and CEO of Clínicas del Azúcar, as an inspirational entrepreneur who set out to create “the McDonald’s of diabetes care.” As an MBA student at MIT in 2010, Javier learned about the Theories of Disruptive Innovation from Professor Christensen and immediately made it a personal mission to leverage them to expand access to diabetes care in Mexico. In fact, Javier’s mother was one of the clinic’s first patients and she played a later role in the development of its call center.
A prime example of “market-creating innovation”—a specific type of innovation that makes complex and expensive products simple and affordable so more people can consume them—Clínicas has attracted funding from the International Finance Corporation (part of the World Bank Group), and Javier seeks to open 100 clinics over the next several years.
Episode 88 of A Sherpa’s Guide to Innovation, featuring Javier Lozano, was a very special and enjoyable conversation for my co-host Ben Tingey and me. We talked to Javier about the early seeds for his company, how Professor Christensen and his theories influenced its development, and his plans for future growth.
Many of our podcasts have discussed the theories of Professor Christensen, and we’ve been proud to have a number of his colleagues and Christensen Institute researchers as guests. In Episode 74, we spoke with Institute researchers Efosa Ojomo and Rich Alton about their paper, Avoiding the prosperity paradox: How to build economic resilience in a post-COVID world. Clínicas was an important element in this paper, as an example of how to quantify market opportunity when a significant portion of society is unable to access a product that they want and need.
We hope you will not only learn from Javier’s experience in market-creating innovation but be inspired by his story and passion for making what was previously expensive and difficult for Mexican people far more affordable and accessible. You will also be moved by his closing story about the lasting impact of Professor Christensen on him.
Listen to the episode here.