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Visual Business Intelligence – Stories and Data: An Extraordinary Collaboration

I’ve written a great deal over the years about statistical narrative: telling stories with data. I often refer to the messages that we communicate …

Why the Decline in Corporate Statesmanship?

After it failed to meet for nearly a year, President Obama disbanded his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at the end of January. An elite group of business leaders, the Council met only four times in the two years of its existence, and although it advocated for improvements in education, …

The Three Elements of Successful Data Visualizations

Now that we’ve discussed when data visualization works — and when it doesn’t, let’s delve into what makes a successful data visualization. Although there are a number of criteria, including ease of comprehension and aesthetics, I’d like to explore the three that designers most often overlook.<p><b>1. It</b> …

The Science of What We Do (and Don’t) Know About Data Visualization

Visualization is easy, right? After all, it’s just some colorful shapes and a few text labels. But things are more complex than they seem, largely due to the the ways we see and digest charts, graphs, and other data-driven images. While scientifically-backed studies do exist, there are actually …

Tell Better Data Stories with Motion and Interactivity

When it comes to making sense of vast amounts of complicated data, time really is on your side. It’s a simple concept, one that everyone understands: an action starts, then eventually stops. The distance between those two points conveys information — information about <i>then</i>, about <i>now</i>, and about the …

Take Control of Your Personal Brand

Companies that Practice “Conscious Capitalism” Perform 10x Better

If you had told me, when I was attending college during the height of the Vietnam War, and the heyday of the counterculture, that several of the most inspiring days of my life would someday be spent with a group of CEOs of large companies, I would have said you were nuts. But that’s exactly what I …

How P&G Presents Data to Decision-Makers

Those of us who believe that managers make better decisions when key data are presented visually tend to get very excited about all the innovation going on in the graphical display of information. (For a sampling of some new and cool tools, see the popular Hans Rosling TED talk.) However, if you …

The Truth About Creative Teams

An interview with <b>Leigh Thompson</b>, professor at Kellogg School of Management and author of <i>Creative Conspiracy: The New Rules of Breakthrough Collaboration</i>.<p>SARAH GREEN: Welcome to the HBR IdeaCast from Harvard Business Review. I’m Sarah Green. Today, I’m talking with Leigh Thompson, professor at …

Data For All! How New Tools Democratize Visualization

When I talk to organizations about how they are using data visualization tools I am often struck by the fact that they use these tools mostly to generate charts and graphs that really aren’t all that different from what they could have created with standard business intelligence or desktop tools. …

To Innovate, Find What’s Hiding in Plain Sight

In our last post, we asked the question, “What’s the connection between counting squares and innovation?” In order to come up with the answer, we presented you with the following figure and asked you how many squares you could find. It turns out, the answer isn’t so simple.<p>It was clear that this …

Visualization as Process, Not Output

“Please make me a visualization.”<p>I get a lot of emails that say this or some variation of it. They tend to make me think of other requests that could be made in the same form, like:<p>“Please make me a roast beef sandwich.”<p>Or:<p>“Please make me a scale model of the Eiffel Tower.”<p>Roast beef sandwiches and …

Visual Business Intelligence – What Makes a Chart Boring?

In response to my recent blog post about Tableau 8, largely a critique of packed bubble charts and word clouds, Chad Skelton of <i>The Vancouver Sun</i> …

Data Visualization

Visual Business Intelligence – Tableau Veers from the Path

I’ve seen it happen many times, but it never ceases to sadden me. An organization starts off with a clear vision and an impervious commitment to …

Data Visualization

What Will You Create to Make the World Awesome?

When web designer Ben Blumenfeld was working for a major TV network, he was responsible for creating websites for mainstream shows. One day, he made a breakthrough that led to a significant uptake on a show, but the success struck Ben in a way he had not expected. His success meant <i>more</i> people would …