Visual Business Intelligence Workshop

Recommend course:


We are overwhelmed by information, not because there is too much, but because we don't know how to tame it. Information lies stagnant in rapidly expanding pools as our ability to collect and warehouse it increases but our abilities to make sense of and communicate it often aren’t up to the task. 

Computers speed the process of information handling but they don't tell us what the information means or how to communicate its meaning to decision-makers. These analysis and communication skills are not intuitive; they must be learned.

These workshops equip participants with the knowledge and techniques of visual business intelligence to help them make better use of their valuable information assets.

This is a three-day programme consisting of two courses:
Show Me the Numbers: Table and Graph Design and Information Dashboard Design

This course was developed by Stephen Few of Perceptual Edge the world’s leading thinker in data visualisation, and is taught by Nick Desbarats, Principal at Practical Reporting Inc., who has been teaching Mr. Few’s courses since 2014 and has updated the course content for this workshop.

Who should attend:

This course is aimed at anyone who communicates quantitative information to internal decision-makers, external stakeholders, the public or others. Participants could come from the government, not-for-profit or private sectors and may include teachers, scientists, medical professionals, business managers and analysts, planners, information management and communication professionals, business intelligence and application developers, data analysts, usability experts—basically anyone who regularly needs to communicate quantitative information to an audience.

You will learn to:

  • recognise and avoid the most common data visualisation mistakes
  • match your message to the right type of graph
  • design tables and graphs to communicate information simply, clearly, and accurately
  • recognise the most common problems that cause information dashboards to be under-used or abandoned by decision-makers
  • apply dashboard design best practices
  • avoid clutter and arrange data in a way that enables large numbers of metrics to be monitored at a glance

Programme outline:

Show Me the Numbers: Table and Graph Design

This two-day course will teach you how to effectively communicate quantitative business data using tables and graphs. You will learn how to select the appropriate medium of communication (table vs. graph, and which type of graph) and how to visually design each component to express your message clearly and compellingly. (Full Course Outline)

This two-day version of the course differs from the previous one-day version in part in that it includes more content (for example, more information about table design), but also in that it adds many more group exercises and extended discussions to drive the principles home and build a firmer foundation for the development of expertise. You will leave this course having developed table and graph design skills that will stick with you and add immediate value to your work.

Each attendee receives a copy of the book Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten, Second Edition.

Information Dashboard Design

Information dashboards offer an exciting way to enable decision-makers to monitor large numbers of metrics very quickly, maintain situational awareness and easily spot areas of the organisation that are likely to require attention. This full-day course reaches past the hype to give you the essential design skills required to build dashboards that decision-makers will still be relying on for months and years after deployment. (Full Course Outline)

Each attendee receives a copy of the book Information Dashboard Design: Displaying Data for At-a-Glance Monitoring, Second Edition.

Course format:

This interactive programme consists of one two-day course followed immediately by a one-day course (i.e. a total of three days). The programme can accommodate up to 70 participants. It is focused on learning new tools and techniques to communicate your numbers and includes multiple breakout sessions and frequent audience interaction.


Nick Desbarats

Testimonials from Wellington 2013 and 2015:

“This was an excellent course for those who wish to extend their knowledge of how to present business analytical data. There were many usable examples and much food for thought for those operating at the business end of analytics.”
Wellington course participant

“A fantastic course.  Stephen made the points "pop" and used very good examples to illustrate.  I came away with not only a lot of new ideas, but validation on some of my own theories.”
Wellington course participant

“Stephen was an excellent presenter and paced the course with military precision. Communicated in a concise but thorough way to get fundamental concepts across. Friendly. Interaction was encouraged by the invitation to ask questions (which is a good thing).”
Wellington course participant

International testimonials:

“Dollar for dollar, [this] was the best investment we've made so far in our data warehousing initiative.”
Dan Richards, Mgr of Business Intelligence, Veritas Software

“One of those enlightening presentations, at once simple, novel, and compelling.”
Paul Winsberg, Senior Director, Global 360

“I left the seminar…with practical advice that I could apply immediately I have new insight about what graphic tools work best for a given application. I would equate Few's role to that of a good pastor who helped me see the light. If he was leading the Church of Practical InfoGraphics, I would likely be sitting in the front row, "born again", and tithing.”
Donald Frederiksen, Professor, Cornell University

“Tufte's [seminar] was like a day at the theater of data visualization. It was informative, inspiring, and beautiful. And when it was over, I left feeling energized.  “Few's, on the other hand, was more like a three day data visualization and analysis boot camp. It was a non-stop mix of class room work, breakout sessions where you had to complete assignments with a work group, and Q&A sessions, but most of all, it was filled with practical information you could immediately use in the business world. “
Michael Gaffney, Principal Software Architect, Boxtone

Further details:
If you would like more information about this programme, please contact us on:
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