Secrets behind creating product innovation with exponential scale

In the past weeks, I have had several podcast interviews that showed me the power of technology when it augments the unique strengths of people and helps them to create exponential impact.

What I found was that, by diving deeper into the individual innovations, you could uncover two specific angles with regards to how exponential impact is created. For the sake of having a better term, I’d describe them as ‘One-to-Masses’ and ‘Masses-to-One’.

Now, why is this important? Well, it highlights an interesting framework to find solutions for many problems in the market. It helps to challenge problems in different ways by:

  • looking for the abundance that’s unleveraged
  • Addressing the outcomes rather than outputs/inputs
  • By focusing on a unique challenge of one single individual

…and this helps to create entirely new markets, rather than disrupting old ones.

This is part 2 in this series. This blog focuses on the angle of delivering exponential impact through the lens of ‘One-to-Masses’.

One-to-Masses Exponential impact

What I mean is examples how technology augments people and organizations to scale beyond traditional limits to attack global problems and challenges on a scale unimaginable before. How? By removing the traditional barriers across three angles: Making solutions more affordable, applicable and accessible. In my podcast with Maurizio Vecchione, Executive Vice President at Global Good and Research, he grouped these criteria as the fundamental ingredients to drive ‘catalytic invention’.  H quoted:

He quoted: “We are using the word catalytic invention to indicate disruptive new technologies that are more than just a new technology, that they truly have the ability to catalyze a sea‑change in a problem. Catalyzing a change in disruptive behavior that allows an improvement, not just for the developing world but across the board.” 

Here’s are some examples:


Product Innovation

Think about things around you that are scarce. Many things are scarce, and sometimes this could lead to life-threatening situations. In the Ted Talk Dr. Nadine Hachach Haram gave in December last year, she highlighted an example of how countries like Sierra Leone suffer from an unbelievable shortage of qualified surgeons: 1 surgeon for every 600.000 people. In our podcast interview we zoomed in how the technology created by her company Proximie augments medical experts to truly scale across the world – i.e. reach many many people without physically moving there, just by using the technology we all have at hand: A computer, tablet or mobile phone.

Nadine quoted “I work in the National Health Service in England and we all have these pain points. It’s no different in the US. It’s no different in parts of India. We all have this supply/demand issue. How can we deliver care to the most people with the resources that we have? That’s why we have to get smart. We have to think about new disruptive ways to do that because our historical traditional ways of doing that are no longer working. We’re at crossroads now, where technology can really, really transform health care.

Affordability ticks one of the key criteria to create the exponential impact to reach masses of people – a solution which brings us closer to solve the scarcity problem of medical experts in a completely new way.


The second criteria to create catalytic impact is that its applicable. It needs to be the right thing, for the right moment and need. In my podcast with Prof. Alex Zhavoronkov, CEO of Insilico Medicine, we discussed how they are using tech to turn very common and complex problems upside down. He quoted: “There is lots and lots of data available for aging research, but AI takes it to the next level. It basically accelerates everything. Think about this as a carriage versus Formula 1”.

With this mindset, they are transforming the medical research industry. Instead of finding the needle in a haystack (by doing research on animals or human which is typically very expensive and takes years or even decades), they use technology ‘to create the perfect needle’. With this approach, they’ve allowed to make research efforts much targeted and applicable and use that to accelerate very targeted solution development that could increase the quality of life for everybody on the planet.


Last but not least the third critical ingredient for product innovation to have an impact on a massive scale: Accessibility. My interview with Susanne Baars, founder of the Human Genome Foundation showcased a very compelling example, with maybe even bigger impact. Susanne is spearheading a project that will allow all of us to share our DNA and take and keep full control what happens with it and who has access to it. This is key to the second stage of the solution, which is to enable every individual on earth to find the key to cure a rare disease we might have.

As Susanne rightly quoted: “every year millions of people are dying because of a lack of access to available data. I think that’s just not right, and we should do something with this. What I realized is this data is not available because we’re living in a world that, after the rise of the Internet, all companies have built this massive wall around them. After our DNA is sequenced, if patients go to a hospital or to a DNA testing company to sequence themselves, they never get access to it because it remains stored in a local database. Because of this, the data can also not be connected. It can be that you, as a person, the doctor will tell you, “So we know your mutation, but, sorry, we haven’t seen your case before,” while it can be that 100 meters from you, or maybe at the other side of the country, or the other side of the world, or someone walking with the information to solve your disease.

Using the blockchain in combination with AI empowers every one of us to completely remove the dependency on the knowledge of a few people in a restricted area. And this accessibility can make the difference for all of us.


These are all examples of solutions that drive exponential impact. All examples of not settling in to make something 10% better, but instead going for the 10x impact. This fascinates me and in particular the techniques behind it. Looking at the problem/opportunity from these two angles will help to unlock new ideas for product innovation that could have a big impact for all of us.

If you are exploring new areas for innovation simply describe the core of the problem, understand whether it’s in high demand and then challenge the route towards creating the solution.

How can commonly available data and technology be used in smart ways give your solution exponential value impact and help you solve common problems like no one else…

  1. …by exponentially increasing the speed to resolve a challenge
  2. …by exponentially increasing the accuracy to resolve an issue
  3. …by exponentially increasing the span of control, you can give experts and/or non-experts

From there understand how to make a catalytic impact…

  1. …by making it extremely affordable
  2. …by making it extremely applicable and
  3. …by making it extremely accessible

If this inspires you to challenge the status quo and shake things up, but need an external view to maximize the opportunity, here’s how I can help.

About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.