In an age with nearly limitless information, visualization is the key to telling data’s story and making informed decisions at the executive level.
Most leading companies have a significant digital component to their operations and services, and many rely on big data to make smart decisions. That means executive teams have to contend with truly massive amounts of data in many different forms. As smart as any person is, it’s impossible to sort through it all alone and make heads or tails of the information — especially when time is short and there are ten thousand other things to do.
Big data visualization is the easiest way for executive teams to identify complicated trends quickly and tell data’s story. Visualizing is actually the most intuitive way for people to digest information — hence the skyrocketing trend of infographics in the last decade — and enables stakeholders to communicate information in a simple way to other team members.
It may be that visualization is so popular today because it’s not reallyanything new. Over two-hundred years ago, William Playfair used graphics to illustrate economic and political ideas. Famously, the astronomer Michael Florent van Langren used graphs to illustrate geographic distances as early as 1644.
Pictures are universally applicable for teaching purposes, which is why infographics have become a tool of choice for elementary school teachers to better illustrate both math and non-math related information. In a similar way, chemistry teachers have long used atom molecular models to describe otherwise unreachable concepts.
The common thread, of course, is that we process information more rapidly and remember it more clearly when we can assign visual images to it.
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