Partnering with Freakonomics to Find Unconventional Approaches to Ending Childhood Obesity

Mar 27, 2013, 4:55 PM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Brian Quinn Brian Quinn, assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation

Solving intractable problems requires unconventional thinking. We recently partnered with some unconventional thinkers—the co-authors of Freakonomics—to convene a conversation on reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. We were interested in this collaboration because the experts at Freakonomics have a proven track record of thinking creatively and vigorously; they look at difficult problems through new lenses. 

The eclectic group of participants included:

  • A Nobel Prize winning psychologist,
  • A passionate education reform advocate,
  • An entrepreneur dedicated to improving health care in the developing world,
  • Professors of epidemiology and economics, and
  • Other diverse leaders from related fields.

This endeavor showed us the value of bringing in non-traditional partners who care about the same issues we do. Innovators from other fields look at health problems differently, drawing on their own expertise.

The convening produced a great discussion, but of course, there are no easy answers. Childhood obesity is a complex challenge. We need to keep exploring and pressing ourselves to find innovative solutions.

Listen to the day’s discussion over at Freakonomics.