Politics have dominated societal discourse in the past few months, with conversations regarding the presidential election flooding Facebook feeds, newspaper headlines, happy hour chats, and every TV channel. Amidst all of the drama, it’s easy to miss they day-to-day happenings occurring in our government.
Deciphering the Chicago City Budget with Integrated Narratives
Take the Chicago City Budget for 2017, for example. Recently released, it details the city's spend in key areas such as transportation, education, facility management, and police and fire department expansion.
The problem with the city budget, however, is that it is contained in multiple tables, charts, and graphs that I don't really have time to read -- I am far too busy re-watching this clip of the song "(I've Had) the Time of My Life" spliced over the 2nd presidential debate.
The good news? I don't need to manually analyze the budget data or interpret charts or graphs. After inputting the data into a business intelligence tool, I can simply read the insights.
Check out this interactive dashboard of the 2017 Chicago City Budget data with real-time budget insights, in narrative form:
What do Narratives add to the city budget story?
With Integrated Narratives, the story about the city budget is automatically presented to me in plain English language, constantly updating as I drill down for deeper analysis. In a matter of seconds, I understand the information that is important to me.
For example, right off the bat, I see that the 2017 budget is recommending a 7.75% increase over last year, with the departments of finance, police, and aviation asking for the most. Interesting, the board of ethics is one of the departments that is decreasing their budget ask by nearly 4%. I wonder what four out of the last seven Illinois governors think of that?
By not needing to manually analyze and interpret the budget data, I am free to do important work. I am looking forward to this increase in productivity. After November 8th, of course.