Getting a Story from your Data

Caroline Parkinson reports from Data-Driven Innovation’s recent event, Getting a Story from your Data


On 28 November, the Data-Driven Innovation programme held its second creative industries skills event. This was co-created with trade bodies for theatre, performance and publishing sector.


Over the past year creative industries trade bodies and practitioners have expressed their data ambitions, and their skills and talent needs to enable them to reach their goals. A common theme emerging from these discussions was how to get to the real story the data was telling them. Could they move to data dashboard systems to gain clearer insights?  Can we maximise the potential of data sharing between related industry partners and layer this with other data sets to see the whole story?


In consultation with Federation of Scottish Theatre and Edinburgh Performing Arts Development the need for good audience data and the right tools to analyse it was a key focus, illustrated by the recent journey taken by the Traverse Theatre.  This was echoed by the soundings of the members of Publishing Scotland, Literature Alliance Scotland and City of Literature and led to the joint event.


Michelle Wadell and Rob Innes of Wyoming Interactive presented how to go from spreadsheets to dashboards and demonstrated the power of a dashboard system applied to a customer ticketing experience. Followed by a case study from Victoria Murray of Traverse Theatre on how they arrived at bold decisions to ‘dump all their data except the last two years’ as a lot of old data and digital engagements that are not active is not useful data. They migrated to Spectrix software system, as have 6 other theatres in Scotland and they have the potential to data share for greater insights. Caroline then presented a range of developments in data driven innovation in creative technology applied in the performing arts to provide inspiration and food for thought for the audience.


The attendees response chimed with the consultation findings – that individual creatives and small companies need some input and guidance to feel confident in taking the first steps in getting to grips with their data, and would like to see more of these events to support their journey.


This is the beginning of delivering informative events and stimulating opportunities for data-driven innovation in the creative industries as part of the DDI sector plan for the creative industries. The University is developing online learning and continuing professional development provision to support individuals in realising their data ambitions.  


Caroline Parkinson is Sector Team Lead for Creative Industries in the Data-Driven Innovation programme


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