Spreadsheets. Search-engine results. Reams of raw data. We have it all, but we can't make sense of most of it. Angela Shen-Hsieh aims to change all of that. The Harvard-educated architect is bringing real meaning (and sanity) to this info-besotted world by redesigning the way we look at it. Shen-Hsieh, 39, is taking the cool but largely unmet promise of data visualization and applying it to serious business problems. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, she's a pioneering cartographer of a new user interface that helps senior decision makers from some of the world's biggest companies—including Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Microsoft—seize solutions out of complex data. Ultimately, Shen-Hsieh fulfills the highest ambition of any designer. By bringing clarity to complexity, she's helping companies cut through the clutter and see the big picture.
A version of this article appeared in the June 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.