The 3 Best Data Visualization TED Talks for Practitioners

The 3 Best Data Visualization TED Talks for Practitioners

The editors at Solutions Review curated this list of the best data visualization TED talks for practitioners in the field.

TED Talks are influential videos from expert speakers in a variety of verticals. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from business to technology to global issues — in more than 110 languages. TED is building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s top thinkers, and their library of videos is expansive and rapidly growing.

Solutions Review has curated this list of data visualization TED talks to watch if you are a practitioner in the field. Talks were selected based on relevance, ability to add business value, and individual speaker expertise. We’ve also curated TED talk lists for topics like AI and machine learning and big data.

The beauty of data visualization – David McCandless, TEDGlobal2010

David McCandless is a London-based data journalist, writer, designer and TED speaker most known for creating vibrant infographics from complex datasets. In his new book The Visual Miescellaneum, McCandless wades through the world of visualized data, taking into account data from political elections to the trends in pop music.

His talk centers around the suggestion that good design is the best way to make use of what he sees as an information glut. McCandless argues that the only true way to see information is visually and relatively, and some of the examples he gives have very real-world effects. One of the key quotes that stuck out to us must was when he said, in speaking about the 2008 financial crisis: “When you’re lost in information, an information map is kind of useful, eh?” This speaks to the broader, and perhaps more important uses of data visualization – those that reside well outside of the enterprise.

Turning powerful stats into art – Chris Jordan, TED2008

Chris Jordan is an artist by trade who creates data visualizations related to modern American life. He is the author of the 2005 book In Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster. Jordan is perhaps best known for his series of photographs entitled Run-in the Numbers, which gives life to statistics surrounding US consumption of consumer goods. In April 2008, Jordan traveled around the world with National Geographic as an ambassador for Earth Day.

Chris Jordan’s talk centers around the consumption habits of Western culture. His images picture some crazy statistics, like how many paper cups are used on a daily basis. He also manages to show us how he fit more than 2.3 million prison uniforms on a series of canvases – some truly impressive stuff. Jordan’s work may not have a direct connection to enterprise data visualization, but it does showcase how organizations an utilize the technology to better portray data to tell a greater story.

Why you should love statistics – Alan Smith, TEDxExeter

Alan Smith is Data Visualisation Editor at the Financial Times in London. Previously he was Head of Digital Content at the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS). With a background in cartography and digital mapping, he has spent the last decade finding ways of bringing statistics to wider audiences. In 2010, he was an inaugural recipient of the Royal Statistical Society’s Award for Excellence in Official Statistics. He was appointed Office of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2011 Birthday Honours list.

In this talk, data visualization expert Alan Smith explores the mismatch between what we know and what we think we know. Whether we think we are math people or not, our ability to understand and work with numbers is limited.

For more data visualization TED talks, browse TED’s complete topic collection.

Follow Tim

Timothy King

Senior Editor at Solutions Review
Timothy is Solutions Review's Senior Editor. He is a recognized thought leader and influencer in enterprise BI and data analytics. Timothy has been named a top global business journalist by Richtopia. Scoop? First initial, last name at solutionsreview dot com.
Timothy King
Follow Tim