Why it’s a great time to explain anything at all

I’m a bit bored of hearing about how the world is too complex to explain or understand. Taking this view feels like an excuse to bury one’s head in the sand, and is a concession to those would wish to deceive us through creating confusion. And believe me, deceiving through confusion is an exponentially growing tactic, particularly amongst marketers!

In many ways, those of us whose job it is to communicate simply in a complex world have never had it so good. Two factors play in our favour. Firstly, we have unprecedented access to data of all sorts. Obviously, we’re treading on sensitive ground here, and we should all be aware of the uses and abuses of data. But if you want to find out about something, you pretty much can. This kind of access to data would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

Secondly, we’re better able to represent data – tell stories with it – than ever before. Obviously if you’re a data visualization specialist like Hans Rosling, you’ll have access to funds and tools that are beyond most of us. But standard desktop packages like After Effects are superb for telling stories with data (that’s what we use!) and such tools are getting cheaper and more accessible all the time. Have a look at HitFilm or Apple Motion.

In short, the barriers to explaining pretty much anything are lower than they’ve ever been. All you need is a talent for communicating…