Mat Van Den Art's Blog

4.2 Case Study 1

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

When economist John Perkins in his book Hoodwinked talks about USA becoming the first banana republic without producing bananas, I was very sceptical about his comparison. However, Perkins expanded on his theory admitting the overall living standards of USA citizens to be higher of those living in the third world, however the comparison of the wealth distribution is shockingly similar.

Video 22)

How is it possible, in current digital age full of new technology inventions complemented by increased speed of social evolution, we are still unable to see the world around us objectively without prejudice? This revelation brought my attention to a professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. Hans Rosling advocates use of his innovative data collection and presentation application GapMinder. Rosling developed this freely available application as a personal initiative to help global governments more precisely direct humanitarian aid, development decisions and financial help based on innovative ways of displaying statistical data.

Video 23)

GapMinder simplifies the decision-making process on all levels of decision-making ladder by allowing instant access to the latest statistical information from various governmental, research or institutional sources innovatively visualized in the form of dataset understandable for human brain – our mindset.

Rosling’s approach to data visualization involves graphical interpretation of not only economic data but also social and health statistics gathered from various governmental and non-governmental institutions. Decision maker’s ability to visually compare various socio-economic dimensions of the problem helps to generate better understanding of associated issues and the extent of their complexity on local or even global stage. Understanding of wide socio-economical context ultimately helps to minimise harming effects on the wider population and environment.

Rosling names the removal of stereotypes as the best feature of his innovative visual approach to statistical data interpretations.

Ability to visually track data changes over the considered time-frame allows to base decisions on actual facts rather than past stereotypes. Exploration of statistical data sources in various levels divided by societal status, wage or age group, faith, sex or race type enables the decision-maker to better understand and subsequently address important social, health and environmental issues where really needed.



Video 22 ) Hans Rosling. Crisis narrows China-UK gap [podcast on the Internet]. GapMinder; 2009 Jun [cited 2010 July 16]. Available from:

Video 23 ) Hans Rosling. Debunking myths about the “third world” [podcast on the Internet]. TED; 2006 Jun [cited 2010 July 16]. Available from:


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  1. Content « Mat Van Den Art's Blog said, on August 11, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    […] 4.2     Case Study 1 […]

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