Quinton: Winning by design

From Jeff Quinton at Baseball Prospectus on November 10, 2015:

“Design thinking began as a way to improve the process of designing tangible products. But that’s not where it will end…Design thinking principles have the potential to be even more powerful when applied to managing the intangible challenges involved in getting people to engage with and adopt innovative new ideas and experiences.” – Tim Brown and Roger Martin

Modern baseball strategy, at least the strategy that has been regularly analyzed, appears to mainly be (i) identifying and forecasting talent and value based on scouting, statistics, or a blend of the two, (ii) deciding how to best use resources, (iii) deciding when to use those resources, and (iv) analyzing in-game tactics such as lineup setting, bullpen usage, pitch sequencing, and the like. The actual implementation of ideas, the parts involving the interaction of people (of coworkers, employees, managers, and investors), tend to get paid less attention. Given the modern history of baseball, this is not surprising.

As people with business degrees from private, northeastern universities began to run MLB front offices, it was unsurprising to see front offices start function like the Fortune 500 companies and investment firms these people were educated to operate, manage, and lead. Specifically, an emphasis on acquiring and recording information for analysis, management, and improvement has become ubiquitous. “If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it,” had been the mantra of management classes for the past 30 years. Consequently, when these MBAs were asked to manage, they set off measuring; they began acquiring and analyzing information. As each team has become armed with analysts, analytics, databases, data scientists, and computer programmers, having these resources in today’s game has become less about finding market inefficiencies and more about not falling behind the competition.

If all teams are fully equipped, then how can teams differentiate?

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=27858

Originally published: November 13, 2015. Last Updated: November 13, 2015.