Gene Lu's Portfolio

Catalyzing the Global Dialogue

“Catalyzing the Global Dialogue”, Winner of the World Economic Forum Data Visualization Challenge for Visualizing.org, November 2010. In collaboration with Clint Beharry, Sera Koo, Tina Ye and Yang Yang.

Challenge
The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils are tasked with tackling the world’s thorniest issues. This past November, the 72 councils comprised of 700 thought leaders from academia, business, government and society convened for the Summit on the Global Agenda in Dubai. Using data derived from a survey of these experts, we were asked to create a data visualization that would help elucidate the interconnectedness among issues, highlight the emerging clusters and catalyse dialogue at the Summit between the Councils.

Process
With less than a week to come up with a concept and eventually execute it, we started off our research with a brief bodystorming session. Through the improvisation of one-to-one conversations, we took note of the small discrepancies that came up during the exercise. We then expanded the conversation to a global level and came up with the following questions.

  • Do the councils function with one another as individual people or groups?
  • What are the issues you face networking with other groups?
  • Does everyone speak English?
  • What are the communication barriers between groups?
  • Why aren’t Councils already connecting?
  • Are there random meetings occurring between people?
  • What’s the significant relationship between regions versus interests?
  • What is the general format of the summit?
  • In terms of interconnectedness, is there anything else you wish the summit would facilitate?

Fortunately, we had a direct contact with a member of a council. After a brief email exchange, we came out with the following insights:

  • WEF is already taking steps to facilitate dialogue and streamline confusion/overload
  • WEF has already implemented infrastructure to connect councils before, during and after the summit
  • What members are looking for is a “final product” that basically visualizes and culminates all the efforts and connections that have been made leading up to and during the summit
  • While there’s room for networking and chance encounters, many of these connections that will happen at the summit have already been pre-determined by WEF based on surveys
  • Regions are complicated; cross-cutting versus single issue vs multi-dimensional councils
  • Short amount of time, lots to do and discuss, already aware of which connections should be made need to get to the point effectively and quickly in a simple, easy to understand way
Whiteboard sketches of what we had in mind (dragons and wizards showed up at the end)

Whiteboard sketches of what we had in mind (dragons and wizards showed up at the end)

Sketches of the circular form that we eventually went with (not including the sentinel from X-Men)

Sketches of the circular form that we eventually went with (not including the sentinel from X-Men)

The final visualization (Thanks to Yang Yang for giving life to the visualization with Python scripts and AS3)

The final visualization (Thanks to Yang Yang for giving life to the visualization with Python scripts and AS3)

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  • 11 Mar 2011

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