What is data storytelling?
Data storytelling is the best way in which you can empower your team to go from just understanding your data to developing compelling stories and insights into data.
As TDWI Glossary defines:
Data storytelling is the practice of building a narrative around a set of data and its accompanying visualizations to help convey the meaning of that data in a powerful and compelling fashion.
The current dashboards and reports only tell you what the data is but storytelling helps you understand why it is happening. Any tool which produces or depicts this data lacks narration. By adopting a culture of storytelling the organization can understand the behavior of the data and make decisions based on them.
Why data storytelling?
We are producing huge amounts of data to be accurate there are devices which produce a huge source of the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data we create every day – not just mobile devices, but Smart TV’s, cars, airplanes, you name it – the internet of things.
In order for a company to make sense of all the data, it needs to have data governance, data analysts, business intelligence, and data scientists who could help understand the data. Data storytelling comes in any form when you have data available and you want to understand "why".
For some people, storytelling might seem nonessential and time-consuming effort. They might feel the typical excel sheet would work but spreadsheets and dashboards tell you what is happening. Whereas, storytelling tells you why it is happening.
Storytelling is an art a way of communicating information to people who can connect and remember why it happened. Evolutionarily, humans are hard-wired to share stories as a means of communication.
Storytelling is a method in which knowledge was transferred to large groups of people. If we go back in time, we see that all the change leaders know how to tell compelling stories from data that they were presented and have helped them achieve success.
Now that we have so much data only data storytelling can put a perspective on increasingly complex and rapidly changing digital age.
Tips for data storytelling
Having the right data quality from which insights can be delivered is key to any perfect data story. There are many companies that collect huge amounts of data but not knowing which data to use and when to use it is a recipe for disaster.
Not knowing what type of visuals to use or lack of visual experience. There are tools out there that can help you pick the right visual and it all starts with what you are trying to show.
Understand the business
While we have the perfect visuals and right data we also need to have some understanding of the business. In order to tell stories, we need to understand some basic aspects of how the business works so you can tie it into the narrative.
Add the human element
Just having numbers is boring by adding people into it is always engaging. Add the human or at least find a way to narrate it as a story.
In order to write a blog post I always create an outline first and fill up the heading. To tell stories we need to have an outline that helps fill the missing pieces and helps in telling better stories.
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