1 Min Read — Is the Goal Analysis or Action?

Credit: Flickr Stevies_Snaps

After reviewing a recent report, it was clear that the author had become overly focused on the details. Although it contained meaningful data, poor visualizations and overabundant information made it nearly impossible to quickly understand what meaningful insights could be gleaned from report.

Unfortunately, I feel that this issue is all too common. Excellent analysis is all-too-frequently undermined by poor presentation and the inability to make the takeaways unambiguously obvious. As an example of antidote to this, MIT’s Technology Review occasionally includes a small box next to the feature article that bluntly points out “Why it Matters”.

What it boils down to is this — the goal of a report is rarely, if ever, the report itself. The goal is to drive a decision or inform an action. My advice is this: If you have a point to make, don’t leave people guessing. Be clear on what you want people to learn or do and design your report in a way that these insights can’t be overlooked or ignored.

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