REAP's Gansu eyeglasses project was featured on CNN's Global Public Square, a program that invites international thinkers and leading journalists to discuss global issues .
When asked about his theory to "think small," Stephen Dubner, the co-author of "Think Like a Freak," said, "We write about these economists who wanted to help education like a lot of people do, and they were in China doing some research and they noticed something very small, which was that if you look at a class picture of these kids in Gang Su province in China, which is rural and poor generally, none of the kids were wearing glasses. And they thought well, that's either because they need them and they don't have them or there, you know, there's no myopia here. And so they did some tests and they found there was plenty of myopia, plenty of kids needed them, but they didn't have them.
"So, they thought let's run an experiment. Just take something as simple as providing free glasses. Half the kids they gave them to, the other half they left as a control group, they left them as is. And after one year, the kids who got the glasses were basically a full grade ahead. Does that solve the education problem? Of course not. But it's an example of how whoever is out there hearing this, whatever realm they're working on, if you peel off a small piece where you can actually get data, figure out what's going on, you can make some progress. I would rather have 100 smart people working on small versions of one big problem than 100 people shouting at each other about the big problem and getting nowhere."
Watch the full clip here.