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Getting People to Get Data Visualization

In my business dashboard design workshops, I ask attendees if their clients and stakeholders tell them that, while they appreciate the effort, they prefer to see a cross tab of numbers.

Lots of hands go up. Indeed, I get a big laugh when I show this slide.

Maybe you feel the same way and love cross tabs. You may be extremely comfortable with being able to glean insight from a spreadsheet and wonder why you would need anything else.

Or maybe you and your organization have tried creating charts and dashboards, but these initiatives didn’t lead to insights faster.

Reconsider your investment in data visualization because, if you don’t learn how to use it effectively, your organization is going to miss out on everything from increasing sales and profits to making employees more fulfilled and more productive.

And if that isn’t reason enough, if you don’t develop this ability, your organization is going to be trounced by competitors that are fluent in data visualization.

Let me walk you though a couple of examples that I hope will get you excited – or will help you get other people excited – about data visualization.

Having Intelligent, Informed Conversations

I don’t want anyone to think learning to create charts and dashboards can be mastered in a weekend. This is something that will take effort and practice.

But coming a savvy consumer of charts and dashboards? I think that’s something everyone can, and should do, and it can be learned quickly.

In attaining this baseline graphic literacy, aka “graphicacy,” you and everyone in your organization will be able to have informed, intelligent discussions about data.

The return on that investment will be enormous.

To read more from Steve Wexler, check out his new book, The Big Picture: How to Use Data Visualization to Make Better Decisions―Faster 

Steve Wexler is the founder of Data Revelations, a data visualization consultancy. He has helped scores of organizations worldwide understand the visualize their data. A winner of numerous data visualization honors and awards, he is the coauthor of The Big Book of Dashboards: Visualizing Your Data Using Real-World Business Scenarios. Steve’s newest book, The Big Picture: How to Use Data Visualization to Make Better Decisions—Faster is now available for purchase.