Data narrative: the art of telling a story from numbers
We produce huge amounts of data every day, data that tell something about our identity, our habits and our world, such as the number of calories we consume or the number of hours we spend sleeping, reading, scrolling through social media, or watching television.
Detectable data can also show the kilometers traveled by car or train, the steps taken to get from home to work the hours spent in the office, even down to the euros spent for an online purchase or the chronology of a search history. Together, all of this information (paints a picture of?) everyday life, useful for knowing what kind of consumers we are and whether, for example, we are more oriented to buy a pair of sneakers or a new car.
From an evolutionary point of view, we as human beings are predisposed to tell stories as a means of sharing information, but what kind of stories emerge from the information we share every day and from the data that can be obtained from our activities? What can we deduce from our life based on the amount of data collected about us in one day?
More than you want to believe: the exponential expansion of companies’ data centers bears witness to this, serving as a real profit center for those who want to make a storytelling culture of data in their company. Data is not simply numbers and graphs, but rather their narrative contains a vital component to effectively communicating information and insights. There is a humanistic side to this, a correlation between data and stories: from the stratification and constant repetition of data, real narratives are generated.
The speed at which companies gather data and the methods they use today are phenomenal. Now you can collect data on every aspect of your business or life, but despite the surge in collection and data processing solutions and tools, companies are not yet able to take full advantage of the opportunities hidden in them.
This is because it is not only important to collect and distribute the data provided, but also to know how to communicate by transmitting a true understanding of what the data might be able to do. This happens through Data Storytelling, an expertise that has developed over time and which intends to communicate information tailored to a specific audience, with a compelling narrative that makes use of new visual representation data languages.
It means that in addition to the visualization of the data systematized in graphics, this component inserts the information into a specific context to further explain what stories are being told. In short, this tactic gives a voice to the data that, together with visual elements, creates a story made of important information that guides the change of companies.
But what do companies need? Among other things, they need to develop an approach analyze and quantify in the immediate and in the long term all those components that are usually difficult to trace, for example the social impact of their activity. Therefore, this constitutes identifying and creating parameters and KPIs / targets on which to base oneself in order to effectively narrate the entire process.
In conclusion, if companies can take advantage of the narration of their data, even the data will benefit from being presented in a narrative context. Showing data within a context brings with it a series of obvious opportunities: first of all, it greatly improves the understanding of information, and secondly, it opens a channel through which companies can communicate directly and effectively with their stakeholders. This in turn facilitates the communication of company performance and its data, a habit that constitutes a rich source of quality content, ready to be shared with users.