Digital transformation brings the potential to seamlessly weave data into our everyday lives. No more shot-in-the-dark decisions that are driven purely by instinct and experience — human and data interaction allows decisions that combine the power of data as evidence and wisdom from intellect and experience. We’re quickly discovering a world where the term “data-driven decisions” is redundant — all decisions incorporate data.
Take something as simple as getting dressed in the morning. I used to think about yesterday’s weather and maybe step outside to feel the temperature. But now I simply look at my phone, and I get hour-by-hour predictions of temperature and precipitation. We may not even think about it, but this massive amount of data from something as complex as meteorological forecasts is now at my fingertips. Now, with the advent of artificially intelligent assistants, I can simply ask my phone to analyze the data and tell me whether to bring an umbrella.
It’s not yet perfectly seamless, but we’re getting there — and fast.
We aren’t computers.
We can’t instantaneously comb a database to extract and aggregate the information. Most of us aren’t statisticians, so the mathematical complexity of a statement as simple as a “30 percent chance” of rain needs an actionable meaning. With more complicated decisions, such as those involved in supply chain, medical diagnoses, and fraud detection, we need to make sure the information is consumable.
That’s where data storytelling comes in.
You might hear data storytelling often used synonymously with data visualization, but there is a nuanced — and critical —difference. Data storytelling is the art, and data visualization is the medium.Poor data visualization clouds the story in the data, just like poor grammar can ruin a good plot. Likewise, even the most beautifully designed data visualization fails if the story is boring and dull.
Data visualization allows us to see the data story, but data storytelling is what makes the data actionable.
Data storytelling is a critical piece of digital transformation. Digital transformation ensures data is always within reach – and data storytelling ensures that data is always consumable.
Sometimes data storytelling is as simple as making sure the right data is available. Other times it’s a complicated process of providing multidimensional insights or presenting complex forecasts and probability in a way that is immediately interpretable. Sometimes the medium is a dashboard, other times it’s the voice of an artificially intelligent assistant.
Digital transformation brings bold promises to make data immediately accessible, and data storytelling is the art that will ensure that data is just as consumable.
If you are interested in a Data Storytelling Workshop contact Kelsey Bieri.