Our new book Data Fluency may not be for you

...but you probably know someone who should read it.

If you've been following Juice for a while, you know what it is to effectively communicate with data. You know that sweating over a finely-honed analysis is of little use if your audience misses your message. You understand the frustration of presenting a beautifully-designed dashboard only to have the discussion derailed by a debate about what a metric means or how to read a chart. You might agree that the challenges in analytics are less about technology, and more about people, culture, and shared understanding. You've seen that healthy discussion about data is as important as "Big Data" or creative visualizations. 

Sorry, we didn't write Data Fluency for you. We didn't need to.

We wrote the book for those around you to expand appreciation of these principles to others. We believe that data fluency (which we define as the ability to use the language of data to fluidly exchange and explore ideas within your organization) needs to be pervasive to be truly effective. Being the only one in your organization who is great at communicating with data is like being the first fax machine.

How do you expand these pockets of data fluency to entire organizations? How do you create a culture that encourages effective data communication? What capabilities and skills are necessary to put data to be put at the center of decision-making and discussions?

We wrote Data Fluency for the people who can be part of this change. Perhaps it is your boss who needs to better understand the untapped potential of data. Or a colleague responsible for reporting, but who is still learning how to communicate with data. Or your sales team who may be both data-starved and a little data-phobic. 

When Nathan Yau and Wiley approached us about writing a book, we knew that the world didn't need another guide to dashboard design (we'd already written a white paper that did a pretty good job), more lessons in visualization fundamentals (Stephen Few has that covered), or a practical guide for visualization practitioners (Nathan's done that with Visualize This and Data Points).

We wanted to provide a fresh perspective that answered a different question: How can organizations more effectively incorporate data into their decision-making?

Data Fluency is intended as:

  • A roadmap for transforming an organization with a lot of data to one that uses that data to share ideas and knowledge.
  • Practical advice for both consumers and producers of data products (reports, dashboards, analyses). It takes both an effectives presenter and a willing audience for the data to flow freely.
  • A guide for executives who are energized by the opportunities to make a smarter organization, but puzzled by their organization's struggle to be more data-driven.
  • An inventory of the skills and capabilities needed to be data fluent, and an opportunity to see where you stand.

At the core of the book, we've provided a framework for thinking about all the parts that need to come together to build a data fluent organization. We have identified the four elements you need to build a data fluent organization. They are:

  • Engaged and educated data consumers;
  • Skilled authors of data products;
  • A culture that encourages communication with data;
  • An ecosystem of people, processes, and tools that supports the production of quality data products.
 Our Data Fluency Framework

Our Data Fluency Framework

Our hope is that this book starts a new kind of conversation in the analytics field -- one that incorporates the people side as much as the tools, techniques, and technologies. We hope it spurs individuals and organizations to start on a journey toward making data a more useful tool for sharing ideas.

Nathan Yau is making a chapter from the book available on his site Flowing Data. Or skip straight to Amazon to buy the book Data Fluency.