Podcast

Ep 34 - Lori Silverman - What it take to drive analytics adoption

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Episode Summary

What is the goal of bringing data into organizations? People make tens of thousands of decisions everyday... data can create more intelligent groups that improve those decisions.
— Lori Silverman, CEO & Professor

Combining multiple disciplines can so often be a recipe for success. Some of the best inventions, ideas, and movements were started because someone from a different background came in to an industry, saw things through a different lens, and approached a problem from a completely different angle.

For Dave, that “combination” has been through Chemistry, Law School, Product Management, and now Analytics.

For Matt, that “combination” has been through Computer Science, Industrial-Organizational Psychology, and now Analytics.

Caroline Doye

For Lori Silverman, she brings a wealth of experience from her psychology background, but has also worked on many “up-and-coming” movements in the quality, organizational change management, and storytelling spaces.

In this episode, Lori shares incredible insights from 30+ years of helping organizations think differently, improve results, and “shift” the way they do business.

Lori is passionate about driving change and about helping her customers succeed in building data informed organizations. She’s also a consummate researcher, so she’s always looking at ways to combine research into “real-world”. We talk a little bit about the research behind an insight (literally called an “ahas"!”). We also talk about the research behind System 1 and System 2 thinking, developed by the amazing Dr Daniel Kahneman and Dr Amos Tversky, summarized in their book Thinking Fast and Slow.

If there’s one thing Lori does, it’s to inspire people towards becoming a champion for data. She tells us the story from early in her career, in Wisconsin working for a local hospital, where she identified a need, went out of her way to learn from great people on the topic, and then spent 2 years slowly building buy-in from various leaders to change how the organization thinks. This is exactly what data champions do! They influence their peers and get buy in from leaders to help facilitate the change they know is possible!

Check out the whole episode for lots of great tips and inspiring stories from a true thought leader!

More about Lori Silverman

LinkedIn - in/lori-silverman-700963

Website - www.partnersforprogress.com

Twitter - @LLSilverman

Lori’s Books - Business Storytelling for Dummies, Wake Me Up When the Data is Over

Heroes - Cassie Kozyrkov - Chief Decision Scientist at Google


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Ep 33 - Matt Anderson - The Link Between Librarians, Product, and Data

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Episode Summary

A lot of product managers are looking at their sales numbers, but they’re not thinking broadly about how the data can provide a wider lense.
— Matt Anderson, Product Manager

Using data is critical for every facet of the business. But none is more powerful and readily usable than in product management.

Product owners, product managers, product analysts, you name it. Companies who have taken the plunge into digital transformation and agile frameworks need great product people. And those great product people MUST rely on data to do their jobs.

Caroline Doye

Matt Anderson didn’t start his career in the product space… he started as a librarian! But he found his niche in product management and has been using data to help understand his customers, his product, and his vision to drive profitability and sales for his company.

In this episode, we talk about what data can do for business folks… both how to use it, and how NOT to use it.

More importantly, Matt talks about his unique approach to collecting data that feeds the questions he’s trying to answer. This is different than the typical approach of “use whatever data you have”. Instead, he’s thinking strategically about what data he NEEDS, then goes and gets that data from his customers. He’s also passionate about QUALITATIVE data, not just quantitative. The user’s own stories are what provide the context that helps shape where the product can go.

My favorite story from our discussion was when Matt talked about using data to NOT make a decision. See, often times we think about data informing a decision… to take an action in some way. Matt found that his data collection efforts actually helped him steer clear of a decision that may have been costly.

Make sure to follow Matt on LinkedIn and Twitter, as he’s regularly writing about relevant data + product topics!

More about Matt Anderson

LinkedIn - in/matt-anderson-87988823

Twitter - @MattAndersonUT

Website - www.mattanderson.org

Heros - The folks from the New York Times Graphics

Favorite Book - The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebol

Great Storytellers - John Cutler, Melissa Perri, Theresa Torres


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Ep 32 - Cathrine D'Ignazio - Getting the Data Basics Right

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As an educator, I am always working with people who aren’t naturally “numbers people”. I believe that you don’t need to be a data scientist to effectively work with data.
— Catherine D'Ignazio, Data Educator

What does feminism and data science have in common? Well if you talk to Catherine D’Ignazio, quite a lot actually!

Caroline Doye

Catherine was in Minneapolis for the Eyeo Festival over the summer and Dave sat down to learn more about her presentation, some of the work she does as an educator, and about some of her side projects like the “breast pump hackathon” and the Data Literacy tool, “Data Basic”

Obviously we had to dive into the hackathon a bit more to understand exactly what that was, and how it came to be (it’s actually a really cool cause!)

But Catherine’s work in data literacy was what got us really excited.

Catherine co-created DataBasic as a suite of easy-to-use web tools for beginners that introduce concepts of working with data. These simple tools make it easy to work with data in fun ways, so you can learn how to find great stories to tell.

Dave also talked to Catherine about data journalism, something that Catherine spends a lot of time in. They talk about the mission of journalists to provide unbiased information, and how data can be such a critical piece of doing that well in the future.

More about Cathrine D'Ignazio

LinkedIn - in/catherine-d-ignazio-61a57ab1

Twitter - @kanarinka

Website - www.kanarinka.com

Passion Project - makethebreastpumpnotsuck2018.com

Data Basic (Data Literacy) - databasic.io


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Ep 31 - Tricia Duncan - Implementing Data Viz in Organizations

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The most data-informed organizations I’ve seen are the ones that have a plan, and that integrate data into their day-to-day, instead of using it as an afterthought
— Tricia Duncan, Data Luminary

As analysts and “data people” we often see all the amazing things that are possible with data, data science and data visualization. We research new tools, new technologies, and new approaches.

But we often work for organizations who are “stuck in their ways”, content with that excel table instead of a sankey diagram. This can be frustrating when you SEE the possibilities, but you can’t convince anyone to move in a better direction.

So what do you do? Is it you? Is it your organization? Is it the leadership?

In this episode of Data Able, we talk with Tricia Duncan who has been consulting on Tableau, Data Visualization, and new approaches for over 6 years. She’s worked with small, mid-size, and fortune 500s all over the midwest to help them implement data visualization best practices and truly “modernize” their approaches to analytics.

Caroline Doye

As someone who has seen all sizes and kinds of organizations, we were interested to see what kinds of roadblocks existed. Is everyone as averse to modern BI and visualization approaches, or is it just a select few?

What Tricia has seen, leads us to beleive that this is a common problem, not limited to any single team, industry, or size company.

One of her stories revolves around a Chief Marketing Officer who wanted to see some new marketing numbers. Tricia saw the opportunity, built an amazing dashboard, and was met with confusion by the CMO when delivering it back.

While her dashboard was likely “better” than what the CMO wanted, it didn’t match the intended ask. The valuable lesson Tricia (and we) learned was that its better to deliver on the ask, and “slow-feed” people a more visual approach. Give them a little bit more each time they ask for something. Getting them from 1 to 2 on the maturity scale is far easier than trying to get them from 1 to 9.

Check out the whole episode for more great tips on how to help your organization improve their analytics maturity!

More about Tricia Duncan

LinkedIn - in/triciaduncan1

Links from the episode

Data Hero - Nick Pedersen - Planning Director @ State of MN

Favorite Book - The Model Thinker

Favorite Storyteller - Octavia Butler

Favorite Podcast - Partially Derivative


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Ep 30 - Nadieh Bremer - Anatomy of a Great Data Visualization

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Want to be a better data visualizer? Make lots of projects. Look for other people’s work and try to iterate on it. Pick something you’re passionate about and start making something.
— Nadieh Bremer, Data Visualization Freelancer
Caroline Doye

We hear a lot about people transitioning into a data science role.

But how many people have you heard who are transitioning OUT of data science and into something more artistic.

Meet Nadieh Bremer, an ex-Deloitte data scientist with a background in astronomy and predictive algorithms.

Nadieh is a leader in the data visualization space, but she didn’t always start there. After years of churning out “just another predictive model” she was in search of something that fueled her more creative side. And she found data visualization! She didn’t realize just how powerful and needed these skill-sets really were.

Nadieh now does data visualization work full time through her company, Visual Cinnamon. She has won data visualization awards for her work in such publications as Scientific American, The Guardian, World Bank and Google News Lab. We also highly recommend checking out her visualization on Lord of the Rings!

We asked Nadieh to walk us through her process for creating the Lord of the Rings project. Surprisingly, there was much more to data visualization then just creating a pretty chart! Much of the data that she needed to answer her question wasn’t available in a format that was useful.

Hear her describe the effort from start to finish, and learn how to create awesome visuals that both captivate and inform!

More about Nadieh Bremer

LinkedIn - in/nbremer

Twitter - @nadiehbremer

Nadieh’s Website - Visual Cinnamon

Links from the episode

Dataviz - Lord of the Rings Project

Project - Data Sketches: A Year of Exotic Visualizations


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