Storytelling with datavisualization

By Douwe Horst

Governments want to work in a data-driven way, using data to design policy and implementation more efficiently. This starts with making the data accessible, offering insight into the data and thereby telling the story. Data visualization and dashboards offer a low-threshold method for this, and directly help to work and steer in a data-driven manner.

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Insight and efficiency

Linking the data using low-threshold BI tools and making it accessible in dashboards brings new insight that was not easy to access from the previous information. Therefore, for data-driven work, good data disclosure and a clear dashboard is indispensable. Because of the insight, an organization's attention and effort can concentrate where there is the most need or necessity. As a result, choices can be made faster and are more in line with the context.

One plus one makes three

Linking data also ensures that multiple variables that previously stood alone suddenly say something about each other. The added value of this is better substantiation, namely a broader field of vision with more detailed information. At the municipality of The Hague, they are making good strides in this, with more and more choices being made based on data. For example, on the policy theme of sustainability. For several years now, the sustainability of the housing stock has been closely monitored, with more and more data becoming available. This data has been merged with various (open) data sources to chart the state of affairs in the municipality. For example, information on home energy labels, gas and electricity consumption and certain home characteristics are linked together. It was possible to reveal data on energy consumption and living area. In addition to absolute numbers, this also created insight into which neighborhoods have relatively high gas and electricity consumption.

The dashboard as a visual aid

A dashboard is clear and easy to understand because it contains multiple visualizations and superfluous information has been omitted. The visualizations say something about each other so they can be viewed in context. Visualizations are unambiguous and quick to understand, allowing information to be absorbed at a glance. At the municipality of The Hague, the linked data was made available through dashboards to colleagues involved in the policy and implementation of projects and pilots. Thus, when choosing a pilot or focus districts, they use the insights that emerge from the data. See the snapshot of this dashboard below.

Also take concrete steps to become data-driven. Find out in which theme there is a need and necessity to make choices faster based on factual information. What data sources exist and which are relevant to link together? Then bring this together in a dashboard to unlock more and better information that will help to set up the organization more efficiently. Need help realizing this? Please contact me!