Let’s face it, sometimes data can be a mystery. If you run any sort of business venture, educational institution or anything that requires people, processes or assets then you know what we mean. Hidden somewhere, in all of the spreadsheets, charts, and graphs is the insight you need to improve.

The problem is finding the insight- cutting through the noise until you find that one actionable item you need to work on.

At times, it seems that the only person who can find that one piece of information buried in a mountain of innocuous details is a detective. The world’s greatest detective, actually!

This week to celebrate data visualization we are shedding light on the mystery with a brilliant set of visualizations dedicated to literature’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes!

“Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay!” -Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock was absolutely right- data is the raw material from which we can make astounding improvements to anything we do: if only we look at it in the right way!

This week we were absolutely entranced by a set of writers and data visionaries from The Guardian, Adam Frost and Jim Kynvin.

In their beautifully illustrated data visualizations they look at the Holmes mythos from many different perspectives in an attempt to find some common threads throughout his cases.

The result is a series of stunning visualizations that examine everything from what type of case it was to who first approached Holmes with it.

Examining the data in Sherlock Holmes
Examining the data in Sherlock Holmes

Our favorite part of the series, however, are the surprising facts that come about through their visualizations. For example, we never stopped to think that in a large percentage of Holmes’ cases, there was actually no crime committed! And in an equally surprising number, around 16% of the suspects escaped the clutches of the famous detective.

But no matter what you choose to focus on, the message is clear. Even the world’s greatest detective can be helped by a great data visualization!

Until next time,

The VisualCrew