I am fond of analogies and examples drawn from elsewhere – one of my favourite posts over the years was one in which I compared technology explanations to cooking, using it to urge technologists to accept that what seems simple to them may seem complex to others.
It can be helpful to tap into popular culture in giving such explanations. Consilio has done just that with a downloadable webinar called Validating analytics with magic and dragons. The Presenters are Sarah Cole, Julia Helmer, and Susan Stone, all of Consilio. Their aim is to explain how stories are made out of many small pieces of information which can be pulled together with the use of conceptual analytical tools. They use examples from Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings to illustrate this.
Cases are rarely won and lost with the proverbial “smoking gun”. I did once ask a panel audience how many had come across a document which turned the case, and a surprising number claimed to have seen such a thing. I also met someone who said that a gun, though not a smoking one, had been found in a box of documents. The fact remains, however, that most cases are won by a narrative made from the steady accretion of relevant facts. Analytical tools pull it all together and suggest other avenues (or plot lines, to keep up the literary theme) which are worth exploring.