Event:Seminar on Innovative Approaches to Turning Statistics into Knowledge, Stockholm

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Event:Seminar on Innovative Approaches to Turning Statistics into Knowledge, Stockholm
Country Sweden
City Stockholm
Date 26/05/2008
Summary The purpose of the seminar was to contribute to the development of tools to help people transform statistics into knowledge and decisions.


The seminar was hosted by Statistics Sweden and jointly arranged by Statistics Sweden and the OECD. It was held on 26-27 May 2008 in Berns Salonger, Kammarsalen. Street address Berzeli Park, Stockholm, Sweden.


The seminar took place over two days in plenum, with no parallel sessions. There were around 20 presentations, and discussants were allocated to the sessions. The conference was video recorded, allowing other interested parties to watch it, when available, on the seminar website.


The purpose of the seminar was to contribute to the development of tools to help people transform statistics into knowledge and decisions. A first condition for statistics to be used this way is that relevant statistics become known, available and understood by wider audiences.

The seminar was held in the context of the OECD Global Project on Measuring the Progress of Societies. It contributed to one of the goals quoted in the Istanbul Declaration: "produce a broader, shared, public understanding of changing conditions, while highlighting areas of significant change or inadequate knowledge".


The seminar could be seen as a continuation of the seminar in Rome on Dynamic Graphics (held by OECD and ISTAT in Rome on 6-7 March 2007) and of the first International Exhibition on "Innovative tools to transform information into knowledge", organised during the second OECD World Forum on "Statistics, Knowledge and Policy" (Istanbul, 27-30 June 2007).

During the seminar focus was on a broader range of tools than merely Dynamic Graphics, while these remained at the heart of the matter. The Stockholm seminar also included the use of videos, as explored by GapMinder and others, and participative approaches, as seen in some web 2.0 initiatives; and – although innovative tools are themselves of great interest, and worthy of being presented at the seminar – the focus of the seminar was on innovative applications of tools, e.g. so called story-telling applications.

Tools and applications for making statistics more popular were looked at, while avoiding the pitfalls of populism, over-simplification or propaganda. All these initiatives were looked at on a scientific basis and the basic principles of objectivity and good communication were observed. Experts in statistical methodology, cognitive science, and communication were therefore welcomed as active participants in the seminar.


Eva Dahlqvist Statistics Sweden Alf Fyhrlund Statistics Sweden Bo Sundgren Statistics Sweden Julie Branco-Marinho OECD Russell Penlington OECD Lars Thygesen OECD Lynda Hawe OECD


Target audience

The following kinds of experts attended the seminar:

  • people who have developed top-class interactive graphical tools;
  • people who have developed and used innovative applications of graphical tools, making statistics more understandable, useful, and interesting for different kinds of audiences, ordinary citizens as well as experts in using and analysing statistics;
  • people who have launched successful campaigns based on visual tools for making statistics known and understood;
  • successful web 2.0 developers in statistics;
  • representatives of media who heavily rely on statistics;
  • experts in statistical methodology, cognitive science and communication;
  • official statisticians.

Participants who were coming not only from OECD member countries, but also from other countries including developing countries were welcome, partly as presenters of initiatives in their countries, partly to spread new knowledge.

Participant list.

Programme & presentations

Seminar Programme and presentation list, plus extras.


Video 1
SESSION A: Democracy and evidence; policy questions on how data and tools can and should be made accessible followed by SESSION B: Presenting indicators that interact with people's minds
Video 2
SESSION C: Interacting graphically with data
Video 3
SESSION C (cont'd):
Video 4
SESSION C (cont'd):
Video 5
SESSION D: What are international organisations doing?
Video 6
ROUNDTABLE: Towards a more evidence-based participatory democrary: should statisticians do more to make it happen? Chair: Hervé Carré; Panel: Enrico Giovannini, Kjell Jansson, Jim Ridgway and Hans Rosling

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