Strategy consulting emerged in the 1930s by blending techniques from mathematics, engineering, and economics and apply them to improve company performance. The profession also pioneered new ways of business communications.
- Tables, frameworks, and drawings were used to visualise strategic trade offs. A departure from the long-winded corporate memo.
- Line, column, and bar charts were simplified and focused on a specific message. A departure with data-loaded scientific graphs
In my management consulting charts, tables and data charts are blended. Often the most important statistic in a table is visualised using some sort of bar chart. See the example below.
Many consultants push this technique too far. I have seen many charts were many, many columns were represented by bar charts. These bar charts had become so small that it is more clear to just stick in the value. If there is very little variation among your data, then using a bar chart does not make the chart much clearer: you get a bunch of bars of roughly the same size (I do not believe in breaking axes). And the worst consulting mistake is the famous bar chart with just one data item.
Getting data charts to line up with text in PowerPoint and Keynote is very tricky. SlideMagic is built around a very strict grid and this data chart grid alignment was one of the hardest things to get right in the design. I think we cracked it and the SlideMagic templates contain a number of slide compositions where data charts and tables are blended.