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Applying actionable data from concept to reality: Part 1

Dr. Joe Perez ( is a Senior Systems Analyst for the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services and Chief Technology Officer for SolonTek Corporation in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.

Anyone can make a pretty bar graph, but can you make sound decisions based on your graphical reports? How do you turn a flashy concept into an actionable visualization? Can your ideas become reality?

American mathematician John Tukey once said, “The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see.” What value do you see in your data, and what ideas do you have when you see it? Are you relying only on nice-looking graphics to accomplish this or on the raw scientific data behind those graphs? Or should it be done by some leveraged combination of the two?

In this three-part series, to both capitalize on that value and explore those ideas, we will cover the five “Stages of the Spectrum” for data storytelling in action. By balancing art and science, and combining form and function, the author’s goal is that the reader will discover the difference between impact and influence, and how that plays into making data actionable.

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