Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mind the Gap

You know when sometimes you come across something or someone you never heard of before and then, serendipitously, you keep coming across the issue or the person? This has happened to me recently linked to an incredible and inspiring guy called Hans Rosling.

Hans, if he must be pigeon-holded and labeled, is a global health professional. But he is also a data visionary. Someone who has the power and touch to bring dry data to life, to give it meaning and to act as a catalyst for solutions to some of the most pressing problems in the world today. Hans has started his own NGO in Sweden called Gapminder (apparently inspired from the London Underground's 'mind the gap') where he and his team are busy exploring the world anew, demolishing myths and changing the way we understand and use data.

On top of this Hans data crunching and analysis is dispelling common myths about the developing world, which (he points out) is no longer worlds away from the west. In fact, most of the third world is on the same trajectory toward health and prosperity, and many countries are moving twice as fast as the west did. This perspective therefore - through freeing and better understanding data - is portraying a much more positive and healthier take on the world, especially the so-called developing world - and I think we can all use a dose of myth-busting in this instance.

The embedded video, from the inspirational Ted talks website - one of the best of the web for sure - is some 20 mins long but stick with it. Hans will open eyes and provoke debate and, at the very least, bring dry data to full-fired life.


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