A quick google search will show that data storytelling is: “the process of translating data analyses into layman’s terms in order to influence a business decision or action.” If one thinks of the four tenants of data literacy: the ability to read, work with, analyze, and argue with data, one can see that the ability to gather insight from data utilizing storytelling fits directly into each characteristic. The ability to read data allows one to formulate the story. The ability to work with data allows one to put the story in the necessary context and gather insight; Context is one of the greatest keys to telling the correct story. The ability to analyze the data enables one to utilize a story to drive insight. Finally, to argue with data properly, storytelling can be a major asset. Using a story to drive home a point or insight backed by data will allow one to argue effectively with data to drive business decisions. But why does story telling matter in the world of data, don’t people already possess the skills to correctly share the insight?
We learn from an article from Manner of Speaking that: “In the average one-minute speech, the typical student use 2.5 statistics. Only one student in ten tells a story. Those are the speaking statistics. The “remembering” statistics, on the other hand, are almost a mirror Image: When students are asked to recall the speeches, 63% remember the stories. Only 5% remember any individual statistic.” The reality is that not everyone is well versed in the language and fluency of data, but people remember stories. Think back to memorable conversations you have had or memorable speeches you listened to. Are they memories of the stories and conversations themselves, or is it a statistic from here or there?
This also matters because just like we have illustrated in a previous blog post, the massive amount of data being created today is causing a data skills-gap to exist, and individuals and organizations do not currently have the data literacy skills necessary to fully utilize all this data. Organizations want to embrace digital transformation and they want to fully utilize their own data being created, but they lack the necessary training in data science. To do this in the most effective matter, people should start to utilize story telling within their organizations to drive insight and involve more members.