Presenting at Visual Analytics Science and Technology Conference

I believe that the Pareto 80/20 principle applies well to a sound BI strategy where 80% of the BI needs should be addressed by Organizational BI (data warehouse, semantic layer, dashboards, operational reports, descriptive analytics, predictive analytics, big data, etc.) and 20% should be left for self-service BI. One of the areas where self-service BI excels is to promote lateral thinking. A business users can quickly test ideas and hypotheses by importing, mashing up, and visualizing data. This is why I’m excited to present at the Visual Analytics Science and Technology Conference in Atlanta on October 16th. The session title is “Self Help BI: How Self-service BI Promotes Lateral Thinking” and it’s included in the “Using Visual Analytics to Foster Lateral Thinking about Business Problems” workshop. I’ll show how a business users can use the Excel reporting and data mining capabilities to test ideas and then share the results by deploying to the cloud.

WORKSHOP: Using Visual Analytics to Foster Lateral Thinking about Business Problems

DATE & TIME: October 16, 08:30 am – 12:10 pm ET

LOCATION: A 706+707

Lateral thinking (also called divergent thinking) is a critical part of the sense making process. Moreover, researchers in the field of Visual Analytics have recognized that iterative and sequential rounds of ‘Convergent Thinking’ and ‘Lateral Thinking’ are necessary for arriving at the most insightful observations. The same pattern is at the heart of ‘Design Thinking’ practiced by creative professionals. The approach leads them to holistic problem solutions that exceed what could be achieved through pure a ‘Convergent Thinking’ approach. However, most of the BI and analytics systems used by business organizations include tools and interactive features (like filtering, sorting, selecting or ‘data brushing’) that are primarily ‘convergent’ in nature. There is little or no support for lateral ideation. Yet lateral thinking has a fairly well developed body of knowledge and includes easy to use techniques for developing out-of-the-box, creative design ideas. Business practitioners regularly use ideation techniques like ‘6 Hats’, ‘HIT Matrix’ and ‘BrainWriting’ to bring structure to brainstorming sessions that seek out-of-the-box business ideas. Most new design or business ideas start as a ‘sketch’ or early visualization of the idea. But there are no formal tools or techniques in commercial BI systems that allow business users to develop ‘sketches’ of alternative business scenarios though forced and controlled data experiments – just the way a ‘HIT matrix’ or ‘6 Hats’ technique does in Lateral Thinking workshops. This session will introduce a number of ideation techniques designed for lateral thinking and foster discussion around how these approaches can be leveraged in the visual analytics context. The session will bring together researchers and practitioners to think about ways this can be done, and discuss challenges and potential solutions.

I hope you can make it!