I recently hosted a Data Therapy session at Data Day 2013. The Data Day event is a fantastic local gathering of people using data to drive community change in the Boston area. This year the event brought together academic researchers, policy makers, local organizations, and regular interested folks for one day of conversations about how to tell stories with data.
In addition to these types of community building efforts, the MAPC and The Boston Foundation have been building out many data-analysis and data-presentation tools to help local folks:
- Our Healthy Massachusetts
- The Boston Indicators Project
- Metro Boston Data Common
- WEAVE (Web-based Analysis and Visualization Environment)
I certainly have concerns about data-based decision making in the civic sphere (see my thoughts on data as disempowerment), but I have a stronger belief in the the potential of data to influence people and drive change.
My workshop was small, so I had a chance to focus on helping people with their data presentations problems. I reviewed some case-studies of various techniques, and a process, to build a shared language around data presentation. Then we broke out into groups to brainstorm possible solutions for people’s actual data presentation needs!
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