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.
In our attempt to provide the best resources for whatever stage of the enterprise technology journey you’re currently at, we’ve compiled the two most informative TED Talks on the topic of data visualization. It’s our hope that these videos will help you gain a better understanding of where things have been, where they currently are, and where they’re going in the future. With data volumes on the rise and no end in sight, there are conflicting ideas as how to best utilize our newfound knowledge banks to improve decision making in business.
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.
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.
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