Lessons In Gov Open Data: Good Data Narration

Building on my last post, Lessons In Gov Open Data: Optimize For Consumer, I want to share another important lesson for people working on open data in government. This very important lesson is about good data narration or storytelling around your data, not just publishing it as is.

This lesson is triggered by a great post over at Gnip, where Eric Swayne, Director of Product of MutualMind talks about the fundamentals of good data narration. Swayne starts out by saying that:

People that live in data analysis have the crucial opportunity for extracting meaning that transforms businesses through data-driven decisions, and it takes much more than just pushing out the monthly graphs and charts

Swayne continues to talk about the trademarks of good data narration which include true insights, user-centric approach, and idea inception. This is critical in releasing data in government, it isn’t just about the release, it is about releasing the data, providing insights associated with the data, and tailoring it for as wide as possible audience, with the goal of triggering something new within the minds and imaginations of these potential consumers.

Remember, if you are opening up data in government, your work is not done once you release. It is your role as a data steward to narrate and tell the story of the data in a way that will relay the value to potential end-users and consumers, so that they may build on that value through visualizations, applications and even other stories--without the story it is just data. :-(