Tag: Strategy Made Visible

09
Dec

Consider TIME / Big Data For WHEN?

In this new series, Humantific SenseMaker Insights, we will be sharing a few tips based on our 15+ years of work and experience in the realm of helping organizational leaders make sense of complex fuzzy situations. Sometimes mountains of data exists in those often pressing situations, while in others, little or no data exists–but regardless there is need to drive forward.

Today, in the avalanche of Big Data crashing on all of our shores and in the marketplace push to consider data a “new natural resource”, a now abundant shapeable material, do you ever get the feeling that something important in that messaging is not being acknowledged, explained, or talked about?

In the competitive (some might say over-hyped) marketplace, what we often see missing in Big Data conversations is the simple acknowledgement that data sets are particularly useful in the construction of certain types, not all types of pictures. Apart from the many technology-related advances, certain basic data-related principles still apply–at least until humans figure out how to work around or change the underlying physics of the universe..:-)

Recently a Humantific Visual Analytics Team undertook an analysis of 200 years of data visualizations with the goal of better understanding what kinds of pictures have been made, historically, using various forms of data. Some readers might be surprised by the findings.

Acknowledging that not all data visualization is being used in the context of organizational or societal innovation it is this particular realm that we remain focused on and interested in. The interconnections between information and innovation acceleration have been at the center of Humantific’s work for more than fifteen years. While swimming in the data tsunami lets not forget a few innovation fundamentals.

In all of our visual sensemaking work we are building-block agnostic. We are not tied to only being able to make pictures based on data-sets alone. Others might be. At Humantific data is just one material used in the construction of informing pictures.

Among our first questions in any visual sensemaking engagement is this one introducing the consideration of time: WHEN is the picture that you seek to create? Asking WHEN inevitably informs the equation of what it is that will likely be needed to construct your picture. Data might or might not be the right “material”. To consider such a question, we, at Humantific, use a simple SenseWHEN viewing lens that contains these three parts: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

We recognize that the creation of Yesterday (Past), Today (Present) and Tomorrow (Future) pictures require quite different considerations and building materials. We have known for some time that data analytics and data visualizations are great for constructing pictures of Yesterday and Today. Tomorrow pictures are often inspired and/or informed by data, but no data exists for the not-yet-arrived future, regardless if that future is next year, next week, or ten minutes from now.

While we certainly acknowledge all the promising innovations underway in the realm of data-based predictive analytics, it remains true that today, in one way or another, pictures of Tomorrow have to be created from a “magic” mix of facts, presumptions, visions, projections, and ideas. In addition, many leaders are certainly well aware that in the context of organizational change and societal change (wicked problems), pictures of Tomorrow (solutions) most often have to be constructed in a manner that is conducive to buy-in by multiple constituents, ie: cocreation.

At Humantific we do a lot of futuring work with organizations and, so, are often called upon to help design and construct interfaces, tools, and experiences to help humans cocreate pictures of Today-Tomorrow as well as the subsequent bridge-building. Organizational leaders often call upon our team to lead the multi-stakeholder cocreation of the bridges of change between the Today and Tomorrow pictures. How are we going to get to that future? Often it’s going to take considerable work and change, including behaviors. We will talk more about this and share additional insights in this direction in future posts.

To undertake the sample view across a 200+ year period of data visualizations, the Humantific Visual Analytics Team utilized 5 well known books, including William Playfair’s 1786 AtlasGraphic Methods for Presenting Facts (1917), Graphic Presentation (1939), Visual Complexity Mapping Patterns of Information (2011), and Information Graphics (2012). Inside the 5 volumes we viewed nearly 1000 visualizations.

Looking across that two century time span, what we found was that 98% of the data visualizations were pictures of Yesterday or Today. Out of the 989 diagrams created over a two century period only 2% were attempts at pictures of Tomorrow.

In terms of proportional orientation, the earliest book from 1786 was not significantly different from the latest Information Graphics compendium for 2012. In Playfair’s 1786 book, 100% of the visualizations were comprised of Yesterday and Today pictures. In the new book Information Graphics, published in 2012, 95% of the visualizations were comprised of Yesterday and Today pictures. That is not much of a change across two centuries!

While embracing the many opportunities that Big Data represents, we have found in our own experience that organizational and societal changemaking tends to be more complex than data crunching, data visualization and data based projections. While all of those activities can certainly be informative we recognize that there is a lot more to changemaking and futuremaking then understanding pictures.

We share these kinds of perspectives with the organizational leaders working with Humantific, as they are tasked with figuring out how best to envision futures and then drive change in organizations and societies.

The Big Truth about Big Data is that it is unlikely that “data visualization” alone will get you to the future that you have in mind for your organization or your society. It can help you get there. It can help you better understand Yesterday and Today, which often informs Tomorrow–but let’s be real and acknowledge that more and different kinds of work are also going to be needed along the way. Humantific is already working on the other side of this realization. The “Beyond Big Data Visualization Era” is not only already here, it has been here for some time…:-)

Inspired by Humantific:

“The Other Visualization.”

Related here on this Humantific site:

Making Sense of the Early SenseMakers

Lost Stories Information Design History

Before, During and After Isotype

Feel free to subscribe to Humantific Quarterly.
19
Nov

Elizabeth Pastor at ESADE in Barcelona

Humantific CoFounder Elizabeth Pastor will be in Barcelona November 29 doing a two hour Introductory Visual SenseMaking Workshop for the ESADE Alumni Innovation Club. Organized by ESADE Alumni and open only to its membership. See how Humantific applies Visual SenseMaking to real-life business challenges. See how onboarding Visual SeneMaking capacity can fuel adaptability & agility in your organization.

If you would like to attend a future Humantific workshop in Madrid, Barcelona or New York send an email to programs (at) humantific (dot) com.

31
Mar

Visual SenseMaking Intro Workshop

May 16, 2009 | New York City | 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Taught by Elizabeth Pastor, Co-founder and Partner, Humantific

SuperCharging Business Thinking!
For more than ten years, the Humantific team has been helping business leaders make sense of complex business challenges and opportunities utilizing its hybrid Visual SenseMaking toolbox. With extensive experience working with organizations, we understand that before meaningful ChangeMaking occurs, meaningful SenseMaking needs to occur.

Join us in our first-ever public Visual SenseMaking Intro Workshop on May 16th!

Registration: $550 per person ($500 pre-registration by April 20).

Additional Info: Download this pdf for more details or e-mail us at
workshops (at) humantific.com (please use the subject heading Visual SenseMaking).

04
Feb

Humantific at Big Data Conference in Paris

Humantific CoFounder Elizabeth Pastor will speak on the subject of SenseMaking for ChangeMaking at the VisionPlus 13 Conference in Paris June 18-20, 2009.

Being organized by the International Institute of Information Design (IIIID) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) the conference focus is Data Designed For Decisions / Enhancing social, economic and environmental progress.

For more information about the conference go here:
Data Designed For Decisions

Background:

From the conference materials: “Data is collected for all areas of life. It is available in abundance – the question is, how can it be used effectively? How can it help people understand, and how does understanding help people to take action?

Experts from around the world will investigate the effects of selection, visualization, interpretation and communication of statistical data, and how it can be effectively used to:

• help understand complex issues,
• make data relevant at a personal level,
• close the gap between objective measurement and perception,
• take decisions based on evidence.

Speakers will be from such diverse disciplines as information design, visualization, social sciences, cognitive science, earth sciences, the media, development planning, economics and statistics.

The goal of the conference is to provide a platform for exchanging different views, methods and approaches. Participants should expect to leave with new insights into their own subject, unexpected alliances, and visions for the future.”

Humantific has many friends in the IIID community and appreciate its high standards and rigor.

Some History:

In 1999 VanPatter and Pastor presented Conceptual Idea Modeling at Vision Plus 6 in Vienna. In 1998 Pastor presented her graduate thesis, Conecta Learning System at Vision Plus 5 in Schwarzenberg.

For more information about IIID go here:
International Institute for Information Design

Related:

The Rise of Visual SenseMaking 

 

17
Jun

Beyond Sustainability / Meta CoCreation

Humantific CoFounders Elizabeth Pastor and GK VanPatter were invited to lead two hours of cross-disciplinary cocreation skill-building exercises with all participants attending the OverLap 2008 Conference in West Cornwall, Connecticut. Overlap is ambitiously advertised by its creators as “an annual, peer-to-peer gathering for those working at the center of emerging theory, methods and practices of innovation.” We found Overlap to be not exactly that (wink, wink), but we had a great day none-the-less.

It was wonderful to see such strong interest in learning more about cross-disciplinary meta cocreation methods even though some Overlappers were obviously determined to remain stuck in individual intutition based approaches. Change is difficult even for some “working at the center of emerging…methods”..:-)

In addition to teaching cross-disciplinary meta cocreation, Humantific brought a central message to OverLap that is often found to be missing from most sustainablity themed books & events: Sustainability is content not process. Sustainability is not a methodology. It is a problem type. Without scalable meta cocreation process skills in the room most sustainablity events turn into very entertaining but not very useful circular conversations. Sustainability is but one of many important problem types that exist in a continously changing world.

Humantific believes that the present sustainability movement suffers from a content / process disconnect. Those driving sustainability conversations often have significant content knowledge but lack practical, robust meta cocreation process skills.

Presently meta cocreation process knowledge represents the flip-side of the sustainability movement but this is finally starting to change. As the sustainability movement begins to move beyond problem finding (pointing out problems) and into the more complex terrain of  action, cross-disciplinary cocreation process mastery becomes much more important. Unless you are ready to settle for cat fight dynamics, anytime you have multiple stakeholders involved in highly complex problems significant cocreation skills are going to be needed. For more than ten years Humantific team has been working that realization. We have already learned alot!

What was particularily hilarious was to see the same few loud cantankerous voices so strenuously objecting to externalized visible cocreation process at OverLap 08 rushing 180 degrees afterwards to create innovation methods and tools oriented projects! Funny stuff goes on!

Unless you are just starting out and have no codified innovation knowledge, we could not recommend to any of our friends the unfortunately competitive harvesting phenomenon known as Overlap.

Related

ReReThinking Design Thinking

Towards Adaptable Inquiry / Transforming That Sustainability Thing

CoCreation is Rising

NextD Reality Check

NextDesign Geographies / Understanding Design 1,2,3,4

To learn more about Humantific Academy and CoCreation Skill-Building send an email to workshops (at) humantific (dot) com