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The Visual Organization: Data Visualization, Big Data, and the Quest for Better Decisions by Phil Simon

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CHAPTER 8

Building the Visual Organization

If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.

—Albert Einstein

Visual Organizations realize that today you can pretty much visualize anything. These days, powerful dataviz tools (like those discussed in Chapter 2) make it easy for “technically challenged” folks to slice and dice data. They can add new dimensions, data sources, elements, and graphics without any apparent end.

Becoming a true Visual Organization, though, requires much more than just buying some software and deploying it, and this chapter explores what it takes. This chapter takes a step back and provides some key data, design, technology, and management lessons. It looks at Visual Organizations and extrapolates the data, design, technology, and management lessons they can teach us.

DATA TIPS AND BEST PRACTICES

Put simply, there can be no data visualization without data. To become a Visual Organization, consider the following data-related tips.

Data: The Primordial Soup

When building a dataviz, it's important to consider factors, such as design, corporate culture, and technology. But remember that it all starts with data.

“We often think of visualization as a design and programming task, but the process starts further back with the data,” writes author Nathan Yau, Ph.D. “You have to understand the data—its trends and patterns, along with its flaws and imperfections—and the rest follows.”1

Walk Before You Run … At Least for Now

Bestselling author Dan ...

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