Activity: Choose a Story to Tell

Any dataset has the potential for multiple stories to be told.  Picking the most appropriate one based on your audience and goals is hard.  This activity scaffolds that process.  It builds capacity among participants to choose between multiple narratives, and reinforces a focus on audience, goals, and context for storytelling.

What you need:

  • a set of data-driven stories generated from a common data set (perhaps in the form of our finding a story worksheets v1)
  • large paper and markers

How you do it:

Begin by reviewing all the stories people have generated.  Then brainstorm a set of criteria for evaluating them.  We usually include things like:

  • would this story resonate with our target audience?
  • is this story a complete picture of the data we have?
  • is this the most important story to tell at this moment in time?
  • is this story the most compelling one we have?

Look over the stories generated and ask folks to evaluate them against this criteria.


This conversation needs strong facilitation to drive a consensus forward.  We often end up merging elements of 2 or 3 stories in our final result.  It is key to write out a draft of the final story and get agreement from the group on the wording (use your large paper for this).

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