My recent presentation at Big Data Innovation Conference - The return of the narratives

I recently gave a presentation on "The return of the narratives" in Big Data Innovation conference organized by Unicom Learning. As a blogger and consultant, I've been fascinated by the way narratives tend themselves to the meaning we seek (and manipulate) from information. 
"Meaning is irrelevant to the engineering problem [of information]" -Claude Shannon, Father of information theory
"Consulting, a profession grounded in building narratives and naive rationalization"   - Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Antifragile
At first blush, it may seem ironic to talk about narratives in a conference dedicated to leverage the surging enthusiasm around Big Data. "Don't give me stories. Talk numbers" is the familiar cultural imperative in which we grew up, discarding our inherited traditional beliefs with scientific beliefs. As we move from data-scarcity to data-ubiquity paradigm, it's intriguing to see this old cultural gene mutating towards "I have numbers. Give me a story".

The crux of my argument is that in a world awash with data, narratives play a critical role in providing the dynamic contexts by which we would make sense of the Big Data we would breathe in the near future.

My deck used for the presentation has been embedded below. I would be writing detailed blog posts on these topics in my blog. I would love to hear your views and join the conversation.

I owe a lot to Venkatesh Rao for his work on narratives which provided me a fertile base to look at consulting narratives deeply.


Nivedita N said...

Thank you and your friend for this. Some of the quotes were so true and applicable even today. Relevant questions and even the answers shimmered with simplicity.
Taking a print of this.

If possible arrange for a "pdf download" for sharing with more people over email.

Venkataraman said...

Thanks! Will send you a PDF version of it by mail. Credits due to Avinash Maurya, my dear friend, for discovering this gem of conversation!

Nivedita N said...

Sure. Please mail it to me at:

Yes, thanks to your friend.