This Idea Is Pushing Data Visualisation To A New Level

This Idea Is Pushing Data Visualisation To A New Level

What does data taste like?

It’s probably not a question that’s crossed your mind, but data visualisation experts Susanne Jaschko and Moritz Stefaner decided to ask — and answer — the question as a way to make their field more personal, emotional and relevant.

This Idea Is Pushing Data Visualisation To A New Level

Imagine a fish stew whose ingredients reflect the data about local fishing, a pizza topped to represent the population mix of Helsinki, or a selection of chocolates whose fillings represent the various causes of death for a population.

These are just some of the many beautiful and delicious data visualisations that have come out of the Data Cuisine workshops held by Jaschko and Stefaner. Participants are provided with access to local data and asked to choose data that has some personal meaning or relevance to them. They then use a state-of-the-art kitchen to create edible visualisations of that data, with help and tips from a professional chef.

The results are beautiful, delicious, and thought provoking.

Of course, food is a much less precise medium than a printed chart or graph for visuals, so where is the real benefit? Stefaner says that what the medium lacks in precision, it makes up for in depth. “Food is a much richer and more multi-faceted medium than visuals can ever be. In addition to anything you can do with graphics (i.e. express data through shapes, colors, forms…), with food, you can also go 3D, play with taste, texture, temperature, all the cultural connotations around a dish or ingredient.”

It is also a more challenging and intensive way to approach data visualisation, but it’s also more memorable. Imagine a curated ‘data dinner’ at which a group of politicians, managers, or scientists are served several courses, each representing some main point or issue in their field.

These dishes, while they require some interpretation and explanation, then become a physical representation and memorable experience of the data — rather than a simple chart on a slide.


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Written by

Bernard Marr

Bernard Marr is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and advisor to companies and governments. He has worked with and advised many of the world's best-known organisations. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 10 Business Influencers in the world (in fact, No 5 - just behind Bill Gates and Richard Branson). He writes on the topics of intelligent business performance for various publications including Forbes, HuffPost, and LinkedIn Pulse. His blogs and SlideShare presentation have millions of readers.

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