World Champ Astros and Analytics

Part of the Washington Post’s coverage of the Houston Astro’s World Series triumph is especially interesting.  In spite of the foreboding title:

Astros’ World Series win may be remembered as the moment analytics conquered MLB for good

much of the article focuses on the importance of the human – in concert with data analytics.

I suggest two main elements are developed in the article, both of which are worthwhile for education to consider.  First, this statement:

“Our game has evolved to the point to where everyone has to choose to what extent they apply” analytics, Hinch said. “We all have them — really smart people that are working behind the scenes to provide that kind of information. How you use them is going to be the competitive advantage. If we think we have different ways to maximize performance, we’re going to use them.”

What I like about this is the double insight that it’s a “given” that data analytics are important and that we all need to use them, but also, that the real trick is what you do with the insights. This goes to an idea I’ve talked about for a while, “schools should take a ‘Big Mother’ not a ‘Big Brother’ approach to collecting student data.  Caring for, and trying to make the most significant contribution, is what drives schools – leveraging data to better reach these goals should drive use of data analytics.

The second aspect that stood out in the article was the import role Astros’ coach A.J. Hinch played as the very human communications link between the “Decision” scientists and the players.  Similarly, school leaders need to inform, but not overwhelm teachers (and students and parents) with the role and use of data without losing sight of the “main game.”

Leave a Reply