Pip Decks

Data Detectives

From Episode 11 of the weekly Storyteller Tactics episodes

Each week we release a new story and two Storyteller Tactics cards from the deck, launching on Kickstarter later this year.

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What is the Data Detectives story tactic?

"In God we trust. Everyone else, bring data." - W. Edwards Deming

You can get great insights from data, but you can also tell great stories about it too. Many people struggle to understand data, even when it's beautifully visualised. But they'll remember a few key facts if you wrap them up in a story. So you need to learn three kinds of stories to tell with - and about - your data.

Go on from this session to a Hero and Guide tactic. Imagine data is a magical power that lets you help your user. What kind of story would that be?


How to use the Data Detectives tactic

Run this workshop once you've got your data in. By now you should have a lot of facts at your fingertips. Here's how to turn them into different types of story.

Zoom Out, Zoom In

  1. Start by zooming out to show the big picture. What are the most important trends or correlations you've found? What is the overall story that the data is telling?
  2. Now zoom in. Show us the little picture - a single, vivid example that is typical of the trend or correlation you've discovered. 

Tell a story that goes from big to little picture: "We've found this trend [zoom out]... for example [zoom in]"

Or tell it the other way round: "Here's an interesting thing we found [zoom in]... it's typical of a much wider trend [zoom out]."

Repeat for your main findings.


The Data Detective

Think of your research as a detective story. You find a body on the floor (this is the problem you are trying to solve). You search for evidence (your data sources). It's confusing at first, but then you find the vital clue (your insight). You follow that lead and identify the killer (the solution to your problem).

  1. Body:
  2. Evidence:
  3. Vital clue:
  4. The killer is:

Use the "That's funny..." card to sharpen your detective skills.


The Data Sceptic

Data can give the illusion of certainty. But you can't possibly measure everything, or be totally sure your data is solid.

  1. How might the process of measuring distort our data?
  2. What alternative conclusions could we draw?
  3. What matters, but can't be measured?

Read more: H.Rosling, Factfulness

🤔 Confused? Enlightened?

Let us know! We are still developing Storyteller Tactics. Drop us an email with your feedback. We reply to every single one.

- Charles & Steve.

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