Book versus Movie debate, and Business Intelligence
It is said that 'the movie' version of Jurassic park does not do honour to 'the book'. Same is often said for so many other movies and their book counterparts.
However, a clear picture conveys more information than a thousand words ever could.
And movies reach more people than most books ever do.
What about Business Intelligence? When do we want to use visuals, versus when do we want to provide words? What if clear message and wide reach are simply not good enough?
Jurassic Park - 1990 Michael Crichton Novel containing a set of warnings against tampering with science and biology. But it was only the 1993 Steven Spielberg film that really succeeded in reaching a worldwide audience.
Visual communication versus ...
Commercially speaking, the Jurassic Park movie surpassed the book by magnitudes, both in reach and financial success (*).
Reading a book undeniably allows for a more profound experience: where we may spend two hours at the movies, you tend spend a lot more time in a book. Due to the non-visual nature of writing, we are invited by the author to create a world in our head, merely guided by the text in front of us. The visuals get substance in our minds.
Data visualisation seems to be paramount in Business Intelligence - certainly when speed and audience reach are key. But for strategic topics, where audience engagement is required, we may need to consider a more enduring interaction format.
The fast food nature of DataViz just does not allow us to engage our stakeholders in a sustainable way.
Visualisations are all around us, overwhelmingly so. In the media, on social media and internet - at home and in the working enviroment. Amidst this visualisation overload, it is not easy to make a lasting impression with a clever Business Intelligence visual.
When a topic is strategic to us, how can we engage our audience? How can we encourage dialogue and discussion? Allow opinions to develop and even ... clash?
A picture may be able to convey more than 1000 words, but in the pursuit of Business truth, opinions need to form in our Business minds and get expressed and shared. Strategic thoughts need to be spoken & written down - so they can be argued and discussed.
Our Management Teams need to ba able to create versions of truth (**), based on Business Intelligence facts. These should be up for debate. This is a time for strategic conversation, not the time for picture synthesis. The art of writing may be your best option here ...
(*) over 1B$ since 2013
(**) see also 'You can't handle sigle version of truth' article of this very blog