From Nought to Zen in Sixteen years

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If you found your way to this page, then it’s likely you have read this article – Meet the 2015-16 Tableau Zen Masters! on the Tableau website. And you may want to know who am I, and why I’m interested in data viz and Tableau? So a bit of a background to how I become Zen, with links to some of my work.

One of the first pieces of feedback I received on my work at Leicestershire County Council in 2000 included this glowing testament:

“Data presentation is default, formulaic and does not generally convey any useful information.”

And so began an adventure in data visualisation.

This started by studying the classics – Tufte, MacEachren, Few – and making sensible graphics in Excel and Mapinfo to later (2009) working on secondment at the giCentre, London as Research Associate on a project visualising library lending data in the Processing programming language. See further details on the vizlib project and more on my dataviz journey from my 2014 London Tableau Conference presentation.

Since 2011, I have worked as Team Leader of Research and Insight at Leicestershire County Council in the UK and use Tableau with an ever-expanding number of different datasets and clients. This covers analysing surveys, understanding crime, demographic and economic trends, and making sense of data from services as diverse as social work to grass cutting. In a sector which is experiencing substantial financial constraints, understanding data better using Tableau is proving an essential way to make the best use of available resources. The two videos below outline why we use Tableau, but also how:

Better government through data analysis

Can Tableau Save you £100 million

When I started this data viz journey I just got married. I now have three children. So it’s hardly an overnight success story.

I work with some great people who care deeply about providing better services to the residents we serve, and passionately believe that the way to do that is through being a more data-driven organisation.

I’ve even managed to get a few journal articles published as I try to banish the memory of that first project.

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