I’m a big fan of data visualization. It can easily tell a story that you can’t see in a spreadsheet or real-time numbers that go across a ticker. The problem is that a lot of companies still continue using spreadsheets to run their everyday business. I will agree that it works to an extent; but in order to grow, you need to add data visualization to your suite of tools.
A company that we recently started working with asked me to meet with them on Tuesday. That put me in a precarious position because I need to do my civil duty and vote. I’ve never tried voting with an absentee ballot but figured this could be a good case to try it out. I went out to the Cuyahoga County, Ohio website to request one. Of course, the word "data" always catches my eye. Data downloads is an even better way to grab my full attention. I was able to get voter data for the entire county.
What do I usually do with data after I get it? Pull it right into Qlik. I was also able to find the estimated population counts for all the major cities too so that gave me another, much smaller dataset to connect in. The combination of the two let my brain really start pumping out ideas.
I had to do a little manipulation on the dataset, so after that was done I started to build. Give me a good dataset and I’m equivalent to a kid playing with 5,000 Legos.
I kept playing around to see what I could build and uncover. After a little while, I was a bit astonished at what I saw in the data. I think that you’ll be able to make your own inferences from what you see.
There is a part of me that still wonders if anyone has ever looked at the Cuyahoga County voter data before. This started to really get me thinking about what could be done to get more people to the polls. Are there new techniques that could be used to get people to vote? Are the commercials owning our TVs really turning people off from voting? What can I personally do? There has to be a solution.
The thought process that I started going through is exactly what I want to happen when end users see the visualizations that I put together. I want the visualization to invoke thoughts.
Visualizing what you’ve never seen before lets you formulate questions you’ve probably never asked before. It is much more powerful than you’d imagine it would be.
If you’re not utilizing data visualization in your company and are intrigued, let us know! I would be happy to have the conversation to see what I can do for your thought process. It’s as simple as picking a small dataset to work with and that will allow me to get you started on a brand-new path to data discovery.