Animated data. We really like visual aids that can communicate complex ideas to lay people. Of the innovators who are doing this with economics and health-related data, Hans Rosling is the stand out. His Trendalyzer software takes multi-factor, time series data sets and expresses them in motion graphics that are simple, and fun to follow. We're "unveiling the beauty of statistics," he says. And eliminating plenty of confusion. e-Patient Dave complains, justifiably, about policy wonks and journalists who misuse data to the detriment of knowledge. Hans Rosling to the rescue! He specializes in debunking myths perpetuated by bad stats. We won't explain further, just watch the 2006 TEDTalk. Google bought Rosling's Trendalyzer software in 2006 (for our money, a better play than Google Health) so Rosling's Gapminder Foundation, which built the softare, now functions as a "fact tank," feeding Trendalyzer with numbers. Rosling is also a professor in public health at the Karolinska Institutet, in Stockholm.
Explaining the origins of Trendalyzer to TED, Rosling recounts testing students on non-graphical data:
"When I was compiling the report I really realized my discovery: I have shown that Swedish top-students know statistically significantly less about the world than the chimpanzees ... But the problem for me was not ignorance. It was pre-conceived ideas ... So this was when I realized there was really a need to communicate data."