I recently caught a demo of Hans Rosling’s software which provides a pretty amazing visualization framework for understanding relationships between data. In this demo, Hans analyzes, by country, infant mortality vs GNP over the course of about 100 years. Like all great presentations, if forces you to re-think how you view something – in this case, the relationships between developing and industrialized nations.
After viewing, consider how this could be applied to business. Organizations everywhere are looking to make better decisions, but we mainly use analytic tools stuck in the same paradigm of plotting two dimensions on a static background. In many cases we want to see time (ie. months, years), but sadly we just used up one of our precious dimensions. Bummer.
The beauty of Han’s software is that you can retain two(+) unique dimensions (ie. Sales and Region) while showing time via animation. You can even freeze certain data as the animation moves on. As Edward Tufte taught us, the power of data is in comparison (ie contrast). Sales is great to know, but sales in comparison to another firm is when things get interesting.
It’s no surprise that Google bought Mr. Rosling’s software.