The edutainer: a unique communicator

By February 9, 2017Public

Professor Hans Rosling, one of the great health communicators of all time, died from pancreatic cancer on February 7 at the age of 68. A unique educator or edutainer, he made data sing, recognising the critical difference between presenting information (giving out) and communicating it (getting through). 

Yes, he was a man for gimmicks, but we can all learn from him. His props included IKEA storage boxes, a washing machine, a sword, bar graphs made from stone and, most impressive of all, the Trendalyzer software built by his son Ola to animate data compiled by, among others, the UN and the World Bank. Trendalyzer converts international statistics into moving, interactive graphics. Rosling brought them to life to dispel common myths about the developing world. For example, he pointed out that it is no longer worlds away from the West. In fact, most of the Third World, he explained, is on the same trajectory towards health and prosperity as the West.

A Swedish doctor and statistician, Rosling was professor of international health at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, and co-founder and chair of the Gapminder Foundation which developed the Trendalyzer system. His award winning interactive animations are on the Foundation website. 

In 2009 he was listed as one of the 100 leading global thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine and in 2010 as one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company magazine. His many talks include this classic:


John Illman

Author John Illman


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