philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


The next chapter in analytics: data storytelling

[PhilNote: this sounds like rebranding of presentation skill basics. Training techies to communicate more clearly and not make so many assumptions about their audience.]

Enter data storytelling, a skill set handcrafted for the era of big data. While interpretations vary, most experts describe data storytelling as the ability to convey data not just in numbers or charts, but as a narrative that humans can comprehend.

Just as with any good story, a data tale has to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It needs to be presented without bias and with the proper empathy and context so business users can absorb and leverage the insights for more intelligent decision-making.

“If you want people to make the right decisions with data, you have to get in their head in a way they understand. Throughout human history, the way to do that has been with stories,” saidan MIT Sloan lecturer who teaches Communications & Data Storytelling as part of the school’s Masters of Business Analytics curriculum.

Would-be data storytellers are coached to anticipate an audience’s likely response to analysis, Kazakoff said. Students learn to structure their planning and presentation to address the needs of a specific audience — whether it’s a colleague, a customer, or a boss — so they’re able to take away the right insights and initiate appropriate actions.

“Being literate with data and able to explain the stories it reveals is as important a form of literacy as being able to read, write, and speak clearly,” Kazakoff maintained. “It’s a core skill, not a job function, and it cuts across all division and roles at a company.”

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