Challenge 17 Participants,
Okay, I know it’s been a bit of a delay in judging the Challenge due to all the time we spent gathering input from the stakeholders on this project, but I think it was well worth the extra time and greatly appreciate their above and beyond efforts in providing exceptional feedback.
Huge thanks to everyone who participated in this month’s challenge. We had a great response with an array of terrific entries that beautifully represented to the stakeholders the analytical and visualization capabilities of Power BI. Also, the diversity of approaches taken provided them with a great outcome whereby they can take the best elements of each report, and produce an outstanding product that exactly meets their needs.
This was quite a difficult challenge for number of reasons:
- Wide range of indicators – asthma prevalence, precipitation, human exposure from waste sites, air toxicity
- Most participants had not dealt with environmental data prior
- Temporal differences – datasets ranged from 71 years of data to 1 year
- Spatial granularity mismatches – some data at the state level, others at census tract, some just points (lat/long)
- For air toxicity, no consistent threshold standards across states and across time
- Most of these indicators would be expected to change quite slowly, so typical approaches like YoY were not likely to produce meaningful results
- Missing data in precipitation dataset, and in child asthma data observations were suppressed if they could potentially be traced back to an individual
- High volume of data to display – in some cases 8 states each covering 70+ years
- Very broad range of e technical expertise within audience – high-level decision-makers to data scientists
In our conversations with the stakeholders following submission of the entries, the final point loomed large in the judging. Often in judging the Challenge entries we put a high weight on technical virtuosity, and while that may be appropriate in some instances, in this particular challenge a premium was placed on simplicity, in order that the report be easily readable and interpretable by each audience specified in the brief. Some of the more complex entries, while incredibly impressive in many ways, were deemed by the stakeholders to be difficult to interpret for the non-data science audience. So, on to the winners:
Overall Winner : Tim Weinzapfel. Tim is a marvelous example of the power of regular participation in the challenges to elevate your skills. He is one of the challenge stalwarts, and has been a finalist a number of times, each entry improving on the last. His entry in this Challenge struck the perfect balance between simplicity and comprehensiveness, while also delivering an outstanding user experience. So many nice touches here, from the creative intro help screen to the sparklines in the KPI providing additional context, to the intuitive navigational experience, and many more. Lots for everyone to learn from this one - especially in its direct responsiveness to the initial brief.
Non-member Winner – Fernando Moreira - while this was a strong crop of nonmember entries, there was a clear favorite of the stakeholders. Much of what they liked in Tim’s report were also strengths of Fernando’s entry. As one stakeholder put it “the summary dashboard is user-friendly, not too data heavy, and provides great visuals with trend lines and summary statistics.” Stakeholders also really liked his representations of the adult and child asthma prevalence data.
Note: Wilhemena’s submission came in after the deadline, but is a very strong entry that would have been quite competitive in this category. I encourage everyone to take a look at it.
Newcomer Winner – Paul Gerber - this category was an entertaining Battle Royale between a number of “up and comers” whom I’m sure will all be heard from again in these challenges. Paul, Pete Smith, and Sebastian Lippert all took some big swings here – each had some very successful elements as well as some misses, but overall we felt that Paul’s entry was the most ambitious, had the most successful elements (particularly his strong usage of maps) and provided the most attractive/best overall user experience. Note that Erika Loz’s entry came in after the deadline and thus was not eligible for consideration, but would have been very competitive in this category had it been timely. But definitely worth taking a look at, and I also expect Erika to make some noise in future challenges…
Individual Category Winners – because we allowed partial submissions, we indicated that we would be recognizing winners in each individual category as well. Based on input from the stakeholders, here are the category winners:
- Asthma Prevalence – Fernando Moreira . The stakeholders loved his visualization approach - “Includes a summary dashboard. Includes filters for the race/ethnicity attribute. Great time slider to change the period of analysis. The button that switches from Adult to Child asthma data makes it really easy to navigate and display all the data. This was the only submission that showed Adult Asthma data in a map and visualized it by census tract boundaries, The map also has a dialog pop up when you hover over the tracts - great job!”
- Heavy Precipitation - Kim Cook. Kim overall delivered a really polished, accomplished report and made the excellent analytical decision to compare precipitation changes to a 1950 baseline, sufficient time to capture longer-term climate changes.
- Human Use Exposure – Tim Weinzapfel . – “Great use of maps, tables and graphs. Gives a great overview for mgmt, a good textual summary for policy maker and enough dynamic aspects (i.e. interconnnected filters) for regional scientists”. Stakeholders also felt that combining Tim’s map with Sam’s site history tooltip would be a perfect combination.
- Air Toxics - Tim Weinzapfel. This was the most difficult one on the board, very challenging to analyze properly without an environmental science background. The stakeholders felt that no one hit this one exactly on the head, but that Tim and Sam came the closest (specific comments in the attached spreadsheet)
And a few honorable mentions - I thought Federico Pastor’s and Alex Badiu’s reports were beautiful, and demonstrated a wide range of expert visualization and UI/UX features. They ultimately were seen by the stakeholders as speaking effectively primarily to the data scientists, but from a development standpoint are marvelously crafted, looks gorgeous and each are a goldmine of tips and tricks you can incorporate your own future reports. Greg Philps’ was never intended as a competitive entry (and he is an expert to boot), but instead as an example of how to use Deneb to create custom visuals in Power BI. With its certification by Microsoft earlier this week, Deneb is poised to become a critically important tool for top-flight power BI development and Greg’s report is a very valuable learning resource.
Finally, with the permission of the stakeholders, I have attached a copy of their detailed comments. I think for each of you that will provide some very valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your report from a client standpoint.
Major congratulations to Tim, Fernando, Paul and Kim for your wins on a difficult challenge. The Enterprise DNA team will be in touch with you soon about your certificates/badges and prizes. Paul - please take a look at the Newcomer Prize list and let me know what you would like.
A huge thanks to all for participating. We hope you found this both an enjoyable and educational experience. We wish you all a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year, and we’ll be back in January with another great challenge for you.
All the best,
Challenge 17 Judging .xlsx (109.7 KB)