Telling Stories with Data – Six Step Framework

Recently I published two articles at Think with Google discussing the importance of crafting stories when it comes to data analysis and communication. Among other topics, I wrote about defining audiences, data visualization and sketching.

Following the articles, I had the pleasure to speak at Strata Europe in Barcelona about the subject. In the presentation below I summarize the process of going from data to insights with a six step framework I have been using for the last year.

1. Define Audience: it is important to start with the audience, otherwise the outcome of the analysis won’t be as interesting to whomever you want to help. An executive and a data scientist will probably be interested in very different types of information.

2. Create Hypotheses: without a great idea it will be extremely hard to get people to hear your story. A great place to learn more about creating good ideas is the comic strip The Shape of Ideas.

3. Sketch: sketching will help you going from abstract to concrete. When you let yourself think without constraints you will understand the essence of the idea more easily.

4. Get Data: it is vital to be detailed and cautious when requesting the data, both the Devil and God are in the details.

5. Explore Data: how do you go about analyzing and visualizing the data you have in your hands? During this step you will filter, sort, group and turn the results into beautiful charts.

6. Tell the Story: once you have analyzed and visualized the data, choose the best storyline in order to present the results. A very helpful book on the subject is Show and Tell by Dan Roam (see screenshot from the book below).

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