The art of data storytelling

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We have all seen fancy data visualisations. Is there anything about Data Storytelling that provides actual value beyond visual appeal? Furthermore, is it something which can be actually applied by the ordinary IT professional and embedded into familiar project delivery methodologies? In this 3 part series we will cover field-tested elements of Storytelling that have been proved to enhance the delivery of analytics projects and help organisations work in unison to achieve their goals through data driven decision making.

Part 1: Beyond AI and data visualisation with Storytelling

CEOs today have the biggest challenge ever faced by business: how can they deliver the maximum value to their customers while returning the favour to the rest of the planet?

Many global organisations are losing market share to small local players who understand the nuances and needs of local markets and can action on their needs faster, while addressing with purpose the values most relevant to their audience.

While investing in Business Intelligence projects to unlock and process data through cutting edge Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can enable disruptive business models, drive efficiencies and competitive advantage, information executives and IT experts can often get lost in the technology and forget that information by itself means nothing unless it is understood and actioned by the right stakeholders.

Dashboards are too often the default vehicle through which we try to squeeze value out of data, but they are not always ideal because they inherently lack a story and so rely on the reader’s ability to uncover insights and interpret information with personal biases.

Understanding Story Structure and how to use different Story Vehicles is necessary in order frame a problem and solution with surgical precision, tailored to arouse specific stakeholders, who can in turn be persuaded to take specific actions that drive the business value we are after.

Data Storytelling drives more action and costs less

Data storytelling is a creative but yet formulaic process that significantly maximises the action-from-insight ratio through the introduction of the Storyteller role, and an action-centric analytics delivery pipeline designed to deliver the right information through the right vehicle to the right stakeholder.

The Storyteller acts as a Project Manager and oversees the entire analysis process from requirements gathering through to insights delivery.

Requirements are gathered to support a specific story/agenda and are delivered through the most appropriate Story Vehicle with the sole purpose of driving or enabling specific actions. This often means that less data needs to be gathered and less effort is required to process it, as all we are trying to do is to tell a specific story as opposed to visualising all imaginable data points in an all-encompassing set of dashboards that we might not live long enough to see finished.

Stories – as we’ll cover in more detail in the next chapter on this 3-part series – are the most effective way to transmit information to humans. Additionally, stories make it easier to inject emotional content and frame a problem from a specific point of view, which as covered extensively in the fields of cognitive psychology, is critical to decision making.

Therefore, through the use of Data Stories, we are able establish the optimal level of communication between stakeholders and departments alike, who become better equipped to perform data-driven decision making. Wouldn’t this high level of company-wide synchronicity help CEOs tackle the most difficult of business challenges?

Look out for part 2 in our series.



Felipe Mattei
AI & Data Analytics consultant, Data Storyteller

Felipe is an AI & Data Analytics consultant in the Insights & Data practice in the UK. He helps large organisations to grow their businesses and fulfil purpose-led strategic priorities backed by data-driven decision making. With nearly a decade of consulting experience across multiple industries and with a focus on Consumer Insights, he has managed Analytics & Data Science project teams that delivered products and innovations on shelves globally. Felipe’s unique skill is his ability to drive more action-from-insight thanks to his expert-level command of Data Storytelling.

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