When advising on workforce planning and strategy, we often talk about the story behind the data.  To me, there are two reasons why this is so valuable:
Firstly, it allows the observer look deeper into patterns and trends – not just recognising that they do exist, but gaining an understanding of why they exist.  Without going through this process, it is easy to jump to the wrong conclusions and make disastrous decisions about your workforce – as outlined in an earlier post in this blog.  Looking behind the data gives you actionable insight.
Secondly, creating a compelling story can help you to engage others in the practise of Strategic Workforce Planning.  Data without a story often doesn’t compel.  The data is important - but the story is what brings it alive.  Recently I stumbled across this video from Hans Rosling, who I’m sure you’ll agree is excellent at bringing the story alive.  His site GapMinder, by the way, is an excellent source of global economic data and visualizations.