Data-driven platform for analysing global trends in manufacturing

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation approached Applied Works to develop a powerful data and research platform, enabling field experts to analyse trends in manufacturing at a global, regional and country level across different industries.


The challenge facing UNIDO was not a scarcity of data, but the difficulty of pooling complex queries from multiple sources and making them readily accessible to a broad audience. Analysis requires expert knowledge informed by state-of-the-art research, which is often difficult for policymakers and other stakeholders to obtain.

UNIDO set out to overcome these issues by providing clear, structured and immediate access to a rich pool of manufacturing data, supported by context and case studies that help to inform evidence-based policy making for economies around the world.

Making data relevant

Through a series of data workshops in London and Vienna, we mapped an extensive list of data queries from seven different sources (including the UN, World Bank and OECD), across 172 countries and 22 manufacturing industries. With each query, we identified different user scenarios for key audiences, listing their motivations and needs. This extensive, yet rapid, analysis provided a clear structure for data prototyping and user journey development.

Data workshop – mapping potential data queries

Next, we developed a prototype to help us assess our initial set of queries and user journeys with live data, quickly visualising trends and comparisons that were worth developing further, while also revealing where a lack of coverage prevented queries from being useful. This systematic road-testing of our initial research provided a solid basis for a design proposition for the site.

Explore. Compare. Analyse.

UNIDO’s Industrial Analytics Platform presents 17 data queries that convey detailed information about global industrial development, structured across three dashboards. Users can ‘explore’ regional trends at a glance, ‘compare’ countries in more detail and further ‘analyse’ these across 22 industry sectors. We also constructed the means to build in-depth research articles that utilise charts from the dashboards – each of the 17 queries can be configured and embedded as live charts via a Drupal based content management system.

SDG9: Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure

At the 2018 UN World Data Forum in Dubai, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed laid out the importance of data in supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

We need to develop data literacy, innovative tools and data visualization platforms, which allow users to understand data intuitively and interact with it in real time.

Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General

Launched in July 2019, the UNIDO Industrial Analytics Platform is a powerful data resource for policymakers and researchers around the world, supporting SDG9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.