The Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, and the economy has been slowly improving over the past year, but what does the recovery look like for the average business? In a survey, GE Capital, the financial services unit of GE, asked 530 CFOs of middle-market companies in seven major industries about their confidence in the recovery. GE Capital is one of the biggest lenders to small and midsize companies and provides financial products and services for over 1 million businesses around the world. In the U.S., midsize companies represent GE’s primary market and are a significant engine of growth for the economy. The CFOs participating in the survey—not necessarily customers of GE Capital—represented companies that had $50 million to $1 billion in annual revenue, with an average of $144 million.
The survey provides a comprehensive portrait of the state of the economy and business, and GE Capital Americas commissioned Pentagram’s Lisa Strausfeld and her team to create a data visualization that dynamically illustrates the survey results. The project is the latest in an ongoing collaboration between Pentagram and GE to make information more accessible to consumers. Strausfeld and her team previously designed visualizations for GE about hospital quality and home appliance energy use.
“GE continues to believe that data visualization is a powerful way to simplify and advance our shared understanding of the issues shaping our lives—health, energy, and the economy,” says Camille Kubie, leader of GE’s data visualization initiative.
How healthy are our hospitals? Working with GE, Lisa Strausfeld and her team have designed a new interactive data visualization that tracks the quality of patient care in over 3,000 hospitals across the United States. The visualization presents 30 basic measures of care in five categories of common conditions for which patients enter the hospital: surgery, pneumonia, heart attack, heart failure and children’s asthma. The project is based on data from The Joint Commission, an independent, non-profit organization that accredits and certifies more than 17,000 health care organizations and programs in the US.
The visualization is being introduced via GE’s Healthymagination initiative and was launched at a GE Healthcare summit in New York last week. The visualization is the second in an ongoing collaboration between Strausfeld and GE, following the home appliance energy use calculator that launched last month.
We all know that it’s best to turn off the lights or TV when one leaves a room. But what does this energy use actually mean in terms of dollars saved, or sitcoms unwatched? For GE, Lisa Strausfeld and her team have designed a new visualization that calculates energy use of home appliances in terms that are easily understood. The calculator tracks the energy consumption of 53 electrically-powered devices found in homes, from large appliances like a furnace, refrigerator and air conditioner; to electronics like a laptop, DVR and TV; to personal care items like a curling iron, hair dryer; to kitchen appliances like a blender, microwave and popcorn popper. The visualization allows users to see the energy consumption for each appliance in terms of watts used and the equivalent cost in dollars. It also allows users to convert the energy to equivalent consumption in gallons of gasoline—a familiar unit of energy cost for consumers—and “appliance specific” units like loads of laundry and batches of cupcakes.
Timed to the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the calculator is the first visualization completed in a new collaboration between Pentagram and GE. Led by Camille Kubie, GE is driving an ambitious initiative to transform data about energy and health related issues into meaningful information for consumers. GE has been collaborating on visualizations with GOOD, Ben Fry, and information designer David McCandless. The visualizations are being introduced via GE’s Healthymagination and Ecomagination websites, where the energy use calculator was launched last week.