Just watching the comments fly over at Nathan Yau’s blog, Flowing Data, which follows from a post by a giant in the field, Stephen Few who was commenting on the work of another name in this space David McCandless, it occurs to me that the Web 2.0 ideal of collaborative communities is perhaps further away than some of us think. Nathan Yau and the Flowing Data community are all interested in doing better work around data visualisation. Stephen Few and David McCandless are both immensely smart and successful thought leaders.
– So why isn’t the flurry of comments bringing great ideas to improve the delivery of insight through easy to use interfaces?
I like to think that I will (or rather I am always aiming to) consider opposing points of view when working through a problem – Tufte and Few books sit side by side on my bookshelf. Having a fairly eclectic reading list hopefully helps me consider a range of viewpoints as well. But I know this is something I can always work on.
One of the things I most admire in a leader is someone who knows what their blind spot/ weakness is and who has a consistent strategy in place to ensure that it doesn’t hurt their team’s delivery. I am generally in awe of facilitators who can work with a room of people who are at each other throats but can bring them to a an agreed point of view. I am always impressed when people can build on the ideas of others and grow them into something great.
The quote that goes with this is a no brainer of course: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
But maybe it’s bigger than that. What if we all need each other to continually build on all of our ideas if we are going to make it. Data visualisation is not world hunger, but maybe the principles of everyone working together bringing success for all is at the core of our very future.
PS. “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society” – Vince Lombardi