CIO Visualization Skills of the Top 20% – with Scott Berinato

My guest this week is Scott Berinato, author of Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations, and Senior Editor at Harvard Business Review.

In this interview we discuss bridging the world of data science and the art of data visualization. Scott and I focus on how we make good use of Data Visualization skills that I believe are critical for CIOs to have.

Listen to the interview to learn more on how to be a better data visualization guy and methods of being a good data storyteller.


Download the Full Transcript>>

Major Take-Aways From This Episode:

  • Why to avoid “click+vis”
  • The importance of incorporating prototyping, sketching, and charting your data visualizations
  • The key to presenting data is not the data or the perfect design, it is the design thinking process
  • Automatic output of data tools is not enough to convey your ideas
  • How to overcome obstacles with conveying ideas + concepts; How to avoid being intimidated
  • Tools Landscape: and exploratory
  • The idea of “the power of a beautiful constraint”
  • What you barely need is data; you need to know what the data is telling you (@23:00)
  • When are you putting yourself at a disadvantage with DOT plots
  • It isn’t the slide quota that is important for your presentation, it is the amount of information on a slide that is important
  • Best Methods for Visual Storytelling:
  1. Maximum one or two ideas per slide
  2. Wrong Metric: The number of slides
  3. Correct Metric: Ideas per visual field/ slide

About Scott Berinato

Scott Berinato is the author of Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations. Even though he’s a writer, he’s also a self-described “dataviz geek” who loves the challenge of finding visual solutions to communications and data challenges. He speaks frequently on the topic of data visualization and leads workshops to help others improve their chart skills.

Scott is a Senior Editor at Harvard Business Review, where he created successful visual storytelling formats. He writes and edits regularly for HBR and, focused mostly on stories about data, science, and technology. When HBR redesigned in 2010, Scott created the front section of the magazine, Idea Watch, launching successful features such as “Defend Your Research.” He led a team that launched HBR’s iPad app, and more recently led the creation of HBR’s Big Idea, a bi-monthly digital longform event.

Prior to joining HBR, Scott was executive editor at IDG where he wrote and edited for CIO magazine and helped create and launch CSO magazine. In addition to writing and editing feature articles, he was a columnist writing about security in a post-9/11 world. He is a six-time winner of the Jesse H. Neal award (the “Pulitzers of the business press”) for best feature article of the year and two-time winner of the Grand Neal Award for the year’s best overall contribution to the business press. Scott was awarded the McAllister Fellowship for his contributions to the business press and, through it, was able to return to his alma mater, Medill, to teach writing.

Prior to IDG, Scott was a beat reporter at PC Week, where he covered the Microsoft anti-trust trial and the rise of the Internet, among other major tech events.

Scott holds a Masters degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He’s currently at work on his next project, The Good Charts Workbook.

How to get in touch with Scott Berinato


Key Resources:


Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations, Scott Berinato

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