ThotWave 2017 Analytics Challenge

“New Year, New You” Healthcare Analytics Challenge: Week One

Greg Nelson Analytics Competencies, Analytics training, Healthcare Analytics Challenge, Our Thots

I love the New Year. For me, it means a fresh start. New goals, new aspirations, new lessons learned from the previous year, and new challenges ahead. The gyms are packed, and Facebook is full of videos on the transformation that lies ahead with new start videos where you see dads touching their toes, people losing weight, and getting stronger.

We thot we would start out the new year with a “New Year, New You” Healthcare Analytics Challenge. These weekly challenges are like sample-sized versions of training activities offered in the Healthcare Analytics Academy—providing you with access to practical exercises and expert insight typically reserved for paid programs.
Each challenge will take just 2-10 minutes and will cover topics as far ranging as the roles we play in our daily jobs, including:

  • Data visualization best practices
  • Analytics leadership opportunities
  • Culture conundrums (creating and supporting a data-centric culture)
  • Data strategy and data governance
  • Communicating analytic results
  • Managing analytic teams
  • And more!

The intent of this free series of challenges is to help you learn by doing and engage in thinking and problem-solving. These challenges will sharpen your skill set in order to help you lead your organization to better outcomes.

Here is the plan:

  1. First week: we will pose a challenge, present the facts, contextualize the problem, and ask you some questions.
  2. You to develop your perspective on how you would attack the issue and flex your critical thinking muscles.
  3. Complete the challenge using the form at the bottom of this page.
  4. The following week, we will summarize the challenge, reader responses, and explore the potential solutions and pitfalls.
  5. Next week: New challenge!  Rinse and repeat.

We hope that you will be as excited as we are in thinking more and continuing to challenge yourself. At ThotWave, we are life-long learners and are excited to continue to build a healthcare analytics community which thrives on learning, collaboration, and sharing.

Your First Challenge: Improving a graphical display of data


There is little doubt that “data viz” is one of the hottest topics in the world of analytics. As early pioneers in the world of data visualization best practices, Edward Tufte and Stephen Few have been touting the importance of proper displays of data that focus on the story that data tells us.

Nicolas Rapp Infographic from Car and Driver January 2017

Nicolas Rapp Infographic from Car and Driver January 2017

Nicolas Rapp is an artist, graphic designer and data journalist and is the Graphics Director at Fortune Magazine (Time Inc.) so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Nick is an expert in the world of visual design.  Recently he was hired to develop a graphic for Car and Driver Magazine in which he gave a visual “Year in Review” of various car facts e.g. acceleration performance,  sound levels, sales, and recalls.  You don’t have to be a car enthusiast to understand the data as they are “mostly scrutable” according to the author.

The Challenge

Review the infographic (linked above) and by clicking Start the Challenge below!

So there you go!  First challenge is set.  Dig into what they did, why they did it, and explore the realities of whether you think it accomplished what the author set out to do and whether it can be improved.

Data is essential, but what good is it if you can’t use it to tell a compelling story? Register for the Healthcare Data Visualization Best Practices workshop to learn how you can take advantage of your wealth of data using visuals. 

Car and Driver Infographic Download