Data storytelling is the conduit for modern data literacy.
I initiated many efforts to enhance data literacy across IBM’s business units and innovate people’s perception of data. I did that by bringing people closer to code, algorithms, and numbers through visual stories that read data but speak humans. Ultimately, the initiatives I led culminated in the launch of the first data storytelling certified learning program that the company ever had.
By working closely with data scientists I sneaked data storytelling into many projects with the intent of showing how we could transform the way we used to communicate data.
The first data storytelling learning program that IBM ever had, was developed as part of the IBM AI Skills Academy.
For example, I use data storytelling as a tool to drive the design and development of new sales and revenue dashboards by using stories to structure the information the executives want to see to run their business. At the beginning of the pandemic, I transformed the data on Covid cases that the data scientists produced into a platform where to collect visual stories explaining the model’s predictions and uncertainty. I focused on improving the data reports of quarterly reviews by replacing boring slides with interactive narratives that made the data much more engaging and effective with techniques such as scrollytelling. I also brought data storytelling into the software design team where we explored how it could reinvent UX practices.
Bridging the gap
Having spotted a gap between business and analytics repeatedly, I have worked on infusing data storytelling throughout AI projects, from strategy to execution.
I started by repurposing my role as a data journalist from mainly designing data visualizations for AI tools to developing and communicating data and AI strategies.
Crafting data stories that visually narrated the what, why, and how of AI models proved crucial to complete the hard work of data scientists and connecting algorithms to the users’ daily experience through stories that would relate to them.
People becoming data-literate through data storytelling
We laid this learning program with the support of the IBM Data Science Profession and the IBM AI Skills Academy to also get executives involved in the data literacy issue and made leaders aware of the importance of the topic.
Since its launch in December 2021, it’s been attended by more than 1700 people and has been contributing to infusing a data-driven culture.