The world has become - and maybe always was to an extent - a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous place (VUCA). This has turned the communication of complex topics and interdependencies into an urgent need. Data is ubiquoutous but let alone it is useless unless converted into information and ultimately knowledge. This is where the concept of Data Visualization or more holistically ideas from the field Data Storytelling can make crucial contributions. According to Dr. Jennifer Aaker, an American behavioural scientist at the University of Stanford, stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone.
Often, data storytelling is simply considered an effective data visualization. In fact, the practise of creating data stories is a structured approach with the goal to communicate data insights as an interplay of the three elements data, visuals and narrative. Creating convincing narrative visualizations not only requires the skills of data analysis experts but al so the knowledge from designers, artists and psychologists employing certain techniques, following specific structures, frameworks and using tools.
The creator of the visual may not be able to put his or her intention into explicit knowledge since successful data visuals are often “a matter of taste” and creating representations of data visually hence a subjective process . This suggests that communicating data driven insights to decision makers requires data storytellers, who are skilled in the “art of data storytelling" which can best be learned through best practises. Data Storytelling is essentially about an "art and science mindset".
Lisa Oberascher, data analyst and alumna of Management, Communication & IT at MCI Innsbruck recently finished her bachelor thesis about Data Storytelling. Lisa conducted interviews with data practicioners and put together a great Data Storytelling cheat sheet.
The respective PDF can be downloaded here:
We wish you a great summer and happy data-storytelling :-)