Caroline Goulard is the CEO and Co-founder of Dataveyes.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
When I started my professional career I had a pretty unusual background and profile: graduated in media management, and passionate about mathematics. Data journalism came as an evidence. From data journalism, I quickly moved to data visualization, and went even further, to specialize in human-data interactions. Today, along with my 7 team-members in Dataveyes, we invent new forms of interaction and narration to make data easier to understand and communicate.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
No two days are ever the same: every day I meet people from various sectors (media, communication, energy, public transports, smart cities, etc,.) who have different kinds of needs and problematics with data. It’s very instructive and allows me to stay aware of innovations. Beside business meetings, I head the conception of new interfaces for our clients. That means conducting users interviews to better understand their needs and brainstorming with my team to find the best ways to visualize or story tell data and make the most out of it.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE? (YOUR APPS, PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS, ETC.)
My mailbox is everything to me. It is both my personal task management app and my main coordination tool. I also use Google Drive a lot, for every basic document I work on.
Within my team, Slack, Github, and Invision are the tools which daily help us to share our ideas, to track the progress of a project, to store code, and to show the mock-ups. Last, a very physical tool complete the kit: we have a big blackboard in the office to materialize, plan and track the work on a project, the tasks accomplished the ones remaining. It’s the Kanban method, revamped to get more visual! And, instead of sticking post-it notes, we stick tickets printed by our homemade printer: it’a tiny, connected, thermal one, that we called “Printhub.”
WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET INSPIRED?
I try to stay up to date with the latest data-driven projects and to read as much as possible about data literacy, and user experience design. A big part of my technological survey comes from newsletters. I subscribe to new ones very often and I even turn websites I like into newsletters thanks to services like Blogtrottr!
I also listen to podcasts on various topics, not always business-related. But most of all, meeting people to talk about their “data-related” problems keeps me inspired. According to their needs, goals, industrial context, and data we can imagine a lot of solutions.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
Steve Jobs had a very good metaphor for computer sciences: “It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.” We think about systems that mediate between humans and data in the same way they enable us to go further. That’s why we are so interested in data visualization and Human-Data interactions, they augment our ability to perceive and understand the world. In Steve Jobs’ complete quote you will also read why our ability to build tools makes humans the “crown of creation,” or at least in certain areas!
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING/INNOVATIVE THING YOU HAVE SEEN ON ANOTHER OUTLET OTHER THAN YOUR OWN?
The works of Victor Bret (a former designer at Apple) about explorable explanations are a great source of inspiration for me. I especially recommend “Seeing spaces.” He demonstrates that in an environment surrounded by tools (robots that fly, robots to talk to or machines that scan books) the challenge is not that much to build those tools, but to deeply understand how they work and what they are doing. Seeing is the key to do so and “makers spaces” should turn into “seeing spaces,” where engineers and conceptors would for example record the movements of a robot, visualize them, find patterns, and then be able to build a more robust and reliable robot.
His “Kill Math” project is also a must-read if you love mathematics (like me), and even more if you hate them!
WHAT’S THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
That are fewer problems that new data-rich environments for which there is an urgent need of human-data interactions interfaces. Autonomous car, smart cities or even technologies like artificial intelligence (our post about AI here) or blockchain (our visualization of blockchain there) could become “black boxes” if we don’t equip citizens with appropriate tools. To retain control over automatic, complex, and real-time systems they need to be able to understand, observe, analyze or even simulate their activity. Interfaces can do that and with my company Dataveyes, I do my best to show why human-data interactions are a huge challenge for today and tomorrow.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT?
Partners and team are the key assets. Working with skilled, passionate, and complementary people makes every project a new adventure from which you keep learning. At Dataveyes, when I start a new project, I always begin with a presentation of our client’s need and its data to my team. I then start the brainstorm session that will give birth to the key concept. Thereupon we launch the conception and production phases. It’s magic to see how the mixture of competencies turns an idea into a concrete tool or application.