September 21, 2007

Best presentation ever?

Watch these presentations (below) by Hans Rosling from TED. (Thanks to Garr Reynolds at Presentation Zen for the tip.)

Not only does Rosling present data in a completely new and refreshing way (demonstrating that yes - it can be done), but he also infuses his own personality and subtle sense of humor throughout - and closes his 2007 presentation in a truly memorable way.

These are presentations about poverty in developing countries, which could be dry and also depressing. Rosling uses his data to show the dramatic progress being made in the world in the areas of child mortality, per capita income, and life expectancy, points out that most of us have a skewed world view due to lack of access to this kind of data, and gives a strong sense of hope and possibility in his presentations.

He debunks myths of rich and poor countries, talks in plain English and entertains at the same time. Well done!

Not only is the data visually presented in an unusual way, but he also uses other successful presenting strategies to explain the data.

He uses analogies, as when he describes how his neighbor knows 200 types of wine, but Rosling only knows two: red and white. However, the neighbor only knows two kinds of countries: industrialized and developing, while Rosling knows 200 kinds of countries because of access to detailed data! Which he then goes on to demonstrate.

He uses data points not just of countries, but also inserts his great great grandmother, his grandmother, his mother, himself, his daughter and his granddaughter as data points to show social and economic change in the world during the lifetimes of real people. He says, "That's when I believe statistics - when it's grandma-verified statistics."

As the animated data moves across the screen, he calls the action like a sports announcer; at one point, he stages a "race" between the US, Japan and Sweden data points, referring to them as the "yellow Ford," "red Toyota," and "brownish Volvo."

The 2007 presentation is a must-watch video - the finale will blow your mind.

This one is his presentation from 2006, when he first introduced this technology for manipulating and animating data, and he shows even more versatility of the software than in the 2007 video (watch when the bubbles split into individual countries from about 9:50 to 11:44 into the video - this part of the presentation is particularly fascinating).


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