Recorded Webinar: Drinking from the Digital Data Fire Hose

Recorded Webinar: Drinking from the Digital Data Fire Hose

Fire Hose[Edited April 27, 2014]

We happily shared some of our work at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) OCIO Learning Session on April 17, 2014 both at their Auditorium in Washington DC and via a live Webinar, which you can as a recording below.  It was hosted by Dr. Melanie Cohen (@DrMELonMGMT) from HUD.


Dr. Gigi Johnson shared five (5) steps to both grow and simplify how we can use abundant data to make better daily and strategic decisions.   She addressed questions such as:  How can I use the data that I can get now at a reasonable price with reasonable use of time to help my work thrive? How can I find ways to SAVE time and energy around data? How can I have the right data when I need it for decisions? and Can I create systems and structures to make this daunting task a little simpler?  


You can find prior sessions by clicking on:


The slides can be seen at SlideShare and below:

“But is he happy?” Ian Richie’s TED Talk about Missing the World Wide Web

“But is he happy?” Ian Richie’s TED Talk about Missing the World Wide Web inspires, thrills, amazes, saddens, and enlightens.  I enjoy getting their regular email blasts as to new videos, learning something new each time.

This cycle I'm bemused.  Ian Richie spoke about how, at Owl, he missed "getting" the World Wide Web when Tim Berners-Lee came to him.  In his talk, he brought me back to Vannevar Bush's "As We May Think" from The Atlantic in 1945.  He brought me back to thinking of how we look at and miss innovations.  He also brought me back, in a closer timeframe, to my current enjoyment of Christensen, Roth, and Anthony's 2004 "Seeing What's Next: Using Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change" on how we have missed and found past innovations.

I spend a lot of time with my classes and learning partners on trying to look with a critical lens at change and its impacts.  Sometimes part of the challenge is to recognize how we are refolding data, time, and space when the idea walks in our door.

Abundant Data Visualization and Storytelling Tools

Abundant Data Visualization and Storytelling Tools

As some of you know, I'm fairly anti-PowerPoint.  Done well with engaging pictures and messaging, it can be a fabulous medium.  Used by most people, it is a grinding parade of bullet points, read-aloud slides, and missed interactive thought.  Presentations aren't locked to a 11x8-1/2 inch format with a heading on top, disconnected bullet points, and canned charts.  But if you don't know more is possible or your company bows down to PowerPoint, you may have been stuck.

Data visualization is not new and has been embraced by many companies around the cutting edge, but hasn't reached the organizational presentation mainstream.  I'm meandering through many tools right now to find the right method for visualizing a complex series of research outcomes to a group of individuals.  Here are some visual metaphors and tools that might add to your working vocabulary:

  • Webspiration: Currently in a public beta under, this tool strikes my current fancy among the many Concept Map tools.  I also like VUE and others, but I've been using Inspiration for two years and enjoy the interface.  This app takes it on the road for collaboration and integration into group process.  Very cool.
  • DebateGraph: I had missed this when CNN had embraced it to "locate" debate with visual graphs and metaphors and am fascinated by it.
  • Prezi: Very visual storytelling with a very different set of metaphors than PowerPoint.  Imagine your presentation world as a GIGANTIC whiteboard and your presentation metaphor as a lens that can zoom in, pull back, and swirl around the board.  You can present it on the fly or automate your lens patterns.
  • Brainshark: One of my business-to-business sales friends swears by this.  You can "can" your presentation and have it present for you with private links.
  • TechSmith's Camtasia: I adore Camtasia in how I can capture screen images, do call outs, etc., record my webcam, and package a full presentation with easy editing.  While I was traveling in China back in the Spring, I Camtasia'd my course introduction and even a daily pre-test with this tool.  For simple video editing, I find it very crisp and clean.  This isn't free, but worth every penny (especially at the educator or student price, of course).
  • Soytuaire still charms me and made Time Magazine's 50 best websites of 2010 in August.  It breaks the visual metaphor for Flash video in rolling sideways and allowing tactile interaction through your mouse to change the "flow."
  • Gapminder: I've written on this many times, but I find most people don't know you can have access to its tools via Google Docs as Motion Chart. Like many people, I found it through Hans Rosling's 2006 TED presentation (link here and below.

  • TriVergence: And lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Dr. George Geis' TriVergence.  I watched yet another group of executives drop their jaws when he used it this summer to show the timeline-based succession of acquisitions by Apple in the music business.  For a decade or so, he has been gathering data and visually mapping an amazing number of M&A deals in media, communications, and technology sectors into this user-friendly tool.  It isn't as sexy as some of these above, but holds key data in a communication-friendly form.

I know this is just the tip of the iceberg.  I could go on at length (and may later) about tag clouds (e.g., visualizing the Twitter data streams on Twitscoop), word sculptures (e.g. Wordle, or more at the ), and other data visualization tools (e.g. more at IBM Visualization Lab...  I'll stop here for now, but please feel free to comment or email me at gigi [at] with other suggestions and recommendations.