Last night, as I do many evenings, I was scrolling through the latest news feeds on Facebook. The thing I love about getting my news this way is that there is usually some nugget of information that I wouldn’t find any other way on the internet. This is the beauty of a having a community such as Facebook, that delivers a of “sort-of” like-minded group of people that can expose you to new ideas and concepts.
Anyway, back to my Tuesday evening scrolling. First I saw this little article about when people break up in relationships, based upon status updates on Facebook. Interesting, but what intrigured me was the graph. How did they figure this out? Turns out it was David McCandless, a brilliant statistician, designer and communicator.
So I followed the link to the actual TED talk .This is brilliant. What I enjoy so much about this approach to data information is how intuitive the final results are. When you see the data expressed in a visual image or picture, all the confusing data processing in the brain settles down and the answer or result is self-explanatory.
My brain has worked in pictures and images for a long time. Pretty much anytime I am working with a business owner about their strategy and vision, when I look at my notes later, a mind-map has emerged. I don’t even mean to do it, it is just how my brain takes in information and transforms it into a plan. Timelines are another favorite device of mine, often just drawing a line, some small hashmarks to represent the intervening months and I have a clear pathway of what needs to happen when and by whom, in what order, and viola, the project plan is underway!
So getting back to this TED Talk, which I highly recommend you view or take a look at David’s website. I believe the benefit of adding more information/data into the picture creates the compelling argument necessary for pursuading a larger audience than perhaps the small business owner in front of you. By crafting a single image or comparison of potential results without much explanation does the important job of moving the vision forward. Provided of course, that your graph/image/visualization is answering the right question for you.