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  • Writer's pictureMonica Kay Royal

How to Create a Data Storytelling Culture

Host: DataCamp

Guest: Brent Dykes

September is Data Literacy Month and what a better way to celebrate than by attending a webinar hosted by DataCamp.

Brent Dykes is an Author, Founder, and Chief Data Storyteller at AnalyticsHero, LLC.

He wrote the book Effective Data Storytelling and shares his views on data storytelling through several means like LinkedIn, conferences, podcasts, blogs, and articles.

This was a wonderful presentation, PACKED full of facts

If you are a fact nerd like be, buckle in and enjoy 🤓

The most shocking fact shared was that data culture is eroding, not expanding... WHAT!?

According to NewVantage Partners, from 2017 to 2020, there has been a 17.8% decrease of Companies with a data culture 😲

This is even more intriguing since the International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated analytics spending has increased 27.8% since 2018 🤔

This does not add up

What is the solution? Data Storytelling!!

It is important to note that data storytelling is more than just visuals, it also includes a narrative and... another shocking fact.. DATA

You may have heard about the iceberg principle, which states that about 10% of the work gets presented, and the other 90% supports it. With data storytelling, the user typically only sees the visuals, and the narrative and data are deep in the sea. It is a bit ironic that data is the last thought, don't you think?

Data Storytelling, when done correctly, can advance data culture by lowering the barrier of entry, helping others access and understand the data, and building data literacy skills

Gartner estimates that by 2023, data literacy training will be a key component of more than 80% of data initiatives and programs

You read that right, that is next year

Do you agree?

5 Steps for Creating a Data Storytelling Culture

1) Identify your evangelists These can be executive sponsors or even data storytelling evangelists.

Anyone excited about data and willing to spread positive vibes.

2) Offer specialized training

This can be general data literacy training or specialized storytelling training (but don't forget about the narrative and data)

3) Create stages for storytelling

Consider including this in existing forums such as town halls

4) Streamline to free bandwidth

A majority of the data project lifecycle is spent in data gathering and data preparation. Try to find a way to automate those processes so that you can focus more on the communication of insights.

5) Establish a community Remember that data storytelling culture is a sharing culture

Communities can exist through coaching/mentoring, collaboration channels, centralized resources, or events like lunch and learns.

4 Benefits of a Data Storytelling Culture

Once a data storytelling culture foundation is created, it can start to provide benefits

1) Develops a richer, deeper understanding of the business

2) Inspires insight-driven decision making

3) Fosters greater data literacy and data curiosity

4) Generates healthy, data-centered conversations


One mention from the Q&A at the end, someone asked how to communicate to a non-technical audience

Brent expressed that tailoring the data story to the audience is super important. You want to give them context, not use jargon, provide explanations and examples BUT do not overwhelm them with too much information.

Finding the perfect balance can be hard but he gave an example about how there are many different versions of the same movie with the intent to be consumed by different audiences

Example: Robin Hood has several different versions, some being a action movies for adults as well as other animated films for the kids. I thought this was an excellent example!

Super Statistics

Saving the best for last, for the fact super-nerds out there, here are some statistics:

  • 65% of data teams reported they had experienced employee resistance (Exasol 2020)

  • 74% of employees reported being overwhelmed or unhappy when working with data (Accenture/Qlik 2020)

  • 36% of employees said they found alternative methods to complete tasks without using data (Accenture/Qlik 2020)

  • 67% of senior executives said they relied primarily on gut feeling over data-driven insight (Accenture/Qlik 2020)

  • 74% of organization indicated they don't have leadership that backs data-drive culture (SiSense/HBR, 2021)

  • 66% of data leaders cited their company leadership as an obstacle to receiving funding for data initiatives (Alation, 2022)

In Conclusion

For more information, check out Brent's White Paper and follow him on LinkedIn

Information from the Host, DataCamp:

[Data Literacy Month] Check out our data literacy webinars, cheat-sheets, podcasts, and blog posts

[NEW–Data Literacy Track] Level up your data skills — no coding required!

[DATA QUIZ] What is your organization’s data maturity? Find out here!

[PODCAST] Subscribe to the DataFramed podcast!

Happy Learning!!

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