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With the year winding to a close, Baseball Prospectus is revisiting some of our favorite articles of the year. This was originally published between November 10 and November 12, 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? In today’s business world, where information and analytics have also become more of a need than a differentiator, we are starting to see companies gain advantage through design. They are doing so not just through the design of their products, but also through the application of the concepts of design to their entire business process—a method that Tim Brown, CEO of the revolutionary design firm IDEO—has called “design thinking”. Consequently, the mantra in business schools has begun to change. Instead of preaching resource-minded ideas such as return on investment, shareholder value, and “measure to manage,” business schools are beginning to also teach more design-minded ideas such as customer focus, empathy, collaboration, and diversity.

Whether baseball teams are actively using design thinking or subconsciously using best practices from design concepts, we are starting to see obvious and not so obvious examples in today’s game. It is not unreasonable to hypothesize that the teams that are most effectively using design thinking are the ones that are best able to differentiate themselves in baseball’s post-information asymmetry world.

***

Design thinking, according to Harvard Business Review, is "a method of meeting people's needs and desires in a technologically feasible and strategically viable way." Baseball teams have several core needs and desires, but they mainly want their employees to perform as well as possible in order to win as much possible in order to make the most profits possible. Obviously, in order to do so, teams want their players to play as well as possible, but they too also want their scouts to evaluate and find talent as well as possible, their coaches to teach and manage as well as possible, and their front office to make decisions as well as possible.

While this seems obvious, this is absolutely more critical in today’s game, where there are fewer and fewer ways to differentiate via talent acquisition. Unsurprisingly, Ben Lindbergh, in writing about the 2014 Saber Seminar, put it best,

“Because record revenues and higher stakes have made front offices so smart, the available edges have grown smaller and more slippery. “It sure felt like in ’02, ’03, ’04, we could more easily create a talent gap between the best teams and the worst teams, and you could more easily count on a bunch of wins before the season ever started,” [Ben] Cherington said. “That feels harder to do now. It feels like talent is more evenly distributed. If that’s the case, then finding ways to optimize player performance and get guys into the higher range of possibilities is more and more important.”

Cherington would go on to reference the need for new innovations and new findings, potentially from the public or from sports sciences. The issue with these solutions is that they are the old solutions (get more information) for a new problem (everyone gets all the information, so having more information is not an advantage).

So, what new solutions does design thinking provide for this new problem? Well, as Lindbergh mentions in the above article (titled Sabermetrics gets Soft), the other keynote speaker—Jeff Luhnow—discussed the importance of baseball’s “softer side,” the importance of effective implementation of these analytical findings. Lindbergh continues,

“…Luhnow wasn’t the only speaker who discussed sabermetrics’ sensitive side. Later on Saturday, Vince Gennaro, the president of the Society for American Baseball Research and the author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball, gave a talk on the same topic. Echoing comments Luhnow had made, Gennaro emphasized the importance of organizational buy-in to analytics-driven innovations, warning that top-down implementation without the proper finesse can lead to resentment, subtle sabotage, and lost opportunities.”

The idea here is that if teams can improve on the standard top-down approach to implementation by using a more design-centric approach, teams will have far greater success, and potentially an advantage over their competition. Moreover, while analytical improvements in today’s game may very well prove to be incremental and short-lived because the competition is now equipped to easily replicate and respond, design thinking, alternatively, provides the potential for new breakthrough innovation that is more difficult replicate.

Over the next couple of days we are going to take a look at the different ways teams might be or could be using design thinking to improve their ability to make changes on the playing field and at the team-wide level. More importantly, we are going to do so with two of the giants of design thinking: Roger Martin and Tim Brown. Martin is a professor at and former dean of the Rotman School of Management, a trusted strategy advisor to the CEOs of companies worldwide including P&G, Lego, IDEO, and Verizon, and the coauthor of Getting Beyond Better and Playing to Win. Brown is the CEO and president of the international design consulting firm IDEO, which, according to Design Matters Podcast Host Debbie Millman, “perhaps more than any other company has expanded the definition of what design is.” He is the author of Change by Design. Also interviewed was Claudia Kotchka, an innovation and strategy advisor who successfully implemented design thinking into the culture and processes of Proctor & Gamble last decade.

On the baseball side, Stuart Wallace, Quantitative Analyst for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Sahadev Sharma, Lead Writer and Editor-in-Chief for Baseball Prospectus Wrigleyville, were also interviewed. Wallace has the unique opportunity of helping pass down analytical insights to minor leaguers across the Pirates' system. Sharma has had the opportunity to observe and report on the most progressive manager in baseball, Joe Maddon, and the progressive Cubs front office. A.J. Hinch, manager of the Astros, also answered questions via email.

***

“We have all this great data, we’re getting more by the day, I’m getting great information and feedback from the players like, “hey, instead of doing it this way, let’s look at it this way, I think it makes more sense to me in that way.” So [we are] getting that and just trying to whittle it down to the bare minimum that will allow them to compete and execute. Because when you cross the lines, all we want you to do is execute.” Stuart Wallace, Quantitative Analyst, Pittsburgh Pirates

***

“It takes a lot of work to make something simple.” Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer, Apple, Inc.

***

Everyone knew the shift made sense. We can imagine the thought process in a typical major-league front office as it considered the advantages of the shift:

“Not all hitters have the same groundball distribution. Of course! So let’s match our infield alignment to each hitter’s distribution. How did we not think of this sooner? No matter, we can now track hitters’ groundball distributions, not only overall, but contextually too. Amazing. Let’s get shifting, take away some hits, and win some games. I’ll go to talk to the manager this afternoon.”

Shifting has become the norm as of the conclusion of the 2015 season, but there were some hiccups for some teams along the way. Most publicly, the Astros almost completely abandoned the shift midseason in their first attempt at implementing the shift in 2013. This miss did not cost the Astros, because they were not interested in winning that season; however, it is not difficult to imagine that such misses occur all the time, and that these misses occur at the expense of the teams’ win-loss records. And that these misses do matter.

The Astros were able to implement the shift the following year by improving the design of their implementation process. That offseason, they changed the way the “sold” the shift to their players and managers (their end users), a process that was ultimately driven by a better understanding of the end user.

This story is commonplace outside of baseball as well. In 1987, Apple realized the benefits of having computing technology on your person at all times. They rolled out the Newton Apple MessagePad in 1993. The technology was tremendous for the time, but instead of giving the consumers what they truly wanted, Apple threw as many capabilities as possible at an unprepared consumer. The technological leap forward was clear, but the execution lacked and the benefit was therefore unclear. The Newton ultimately failed.

In 1996, Palm Computer also realized the benefits of having computing technology on your person at all times and rolled out the Palm PDA. It famously focused on three things (contact list, calendar, and to-do list) that its customers would desire and understand. While its successors would fail, the Palm PDA and Palm Pilot were successes.

The difference between the Newton Apple MessagePad and the Palm PDA, just like the difference between rolling out the shift for the 2013 Astros and the 2014 Astros, was in the implementations’ consideration of the end user. Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, writes in his book Change by Design that

“Innovation has been described as 'a good ideas executed well.' This a good start. Unfortunately, too much emphasis falls on the first half of that proposition. I have seen countless examples of good ideas that never gained traction for the simple reason of poor execution.”

Design thinking improves execution by using the concepts of observation, empathy, prototyping, and feedback, among other techniques. In baseball, where the margins of error are razor thin, implementation can be the difference between playing October baseball and listening to Joe Buck from your couch. There are already indications that teams are working to use design thinking to improve their implementation. We will take a look at these methods from the perspective of design thinkers and, as best we can, those in baseball.

Observation and User Focus

Observation has been described as “listening with your eyes.” This, for design and implementation purposes, is not to be confused with scouting, the evaluation of players’ skills and potential future skills, which is a separate skill in and of itself. Observation of the end user (most likely players, but also possibly coaches and scouts) is not about evaluating their abilities; instead, it is about understanding their habits and behaviors in an attempt to understand their motivators, fears, wants, and needs.

Innovation and strategy advisor Claudia Kotchka says that a major benefit of design thinking is “understanding the customer better than they understand themselves.” She notes that “no one ever asked for an iPhone.” As Roger Martin notes, the best ideas often “do not come out of sending a survey to the customer and asking 'what do you want?' but by deeply, deeply understanding the customer.” To best implement any new process or innovation, though, it is important to understand both parts of Kotchka’s first quote—it is important to understand what the consumer thinks he wants and to understand his underlying desires to know what he actually wants.

Using the iPhone example, consumers thought they wanted better phones and better computers, but what they really wanted was internet, email, and social media connection on their person at all times. Using the shift example, pitchers and coaches thought they wanted an infield defense that would work if the pitcher “made his pitch,” but what they really wanted were better ERAs and win-loss records when the season was over.

If teams are going to be more successful at implementation and changing end user behavior, then they are going to need to be as proficient as possible at deeply understanding the end user. A.J. Hinch, manager of the Houston Astros, notes, “I've always thought in order to get the most out of players, it is important to invest time getting to know them so one can find keys to unlock the best in them.” This, however, does not mean that every person in the organization needs to have as deep an understanding of the end user as the coaches, scouts, or players. What it does mean is that every person involved in innovation and implementation needs to be able to ask the right questions and challenge the right assumptions. But this often cannot be done without being present, without observing the behaviors that are critical during change.

The previously quoted Stuart Wallace is a quantitative analyst in title, but he is not behind a computer all day. Wallace is the Pirates' minor-league equivalent of Mike Fitzgerald, the subject of Ben Lindbergh’s excellent “Sabermetric Road Show” article, and a quantitative analyst who travels with the major-league team. Wallace will spend much of his time traveling to the Pirates' various minor-league affiliates during the regular season.

Being at the fields in person is beneficial to Wallace. He says, “You want to make sure the numbers you are seeing make sense.” Beyond that, Wallace continues, “We’re always looking for ways not only to collect data, but [also ways] to disperse it as quickly and as thoughtfully as possible.” This—thinking about how to disperse information as thoughtfully as possible (and thus with the end user in mind)—is what we mean when we mention that teams are already using the concepts of design thinking. Wallace notes that “it all starts with getting eyes and hands on guys.” Brown preaches this understanding of the end user as a “human-centered approach.” By focusing on the analysis as well as the end user, such an approach is more likely to lead to successful implementation.

Prototyping

Better understanding the end users and their possible intersection with a desired change is a hugely important part of implementation, but it is only the beginning. The idea that we can fully understand the customer and environment and then make the perfect product for that context is a nice sentiment, but not one that jibes with reality. The products, ideas, and innovations that work best are often ones that learn from the mistakes of others (as seen in our above examples). Luckily, design thinking already has a technique that allows us to learn from mistakes without having to publicly fail, that technique being prototyping. “As we say at IDEO, 'Fail early to succeed sooner,'” writes Brown.

In baseball, where there is often little tolerance at the major-league level for the failure inherent in experimentation, teams can prototype new ideas at the minor-league levels. Wallace mentions that the Pirates will often test a new idea with small groups at the lower levels of the minor leagues, allowing them to test and observe new ideas in action. “There’s a great phrase in medicine…that anyone in research will kind of adhere to after a while, which is 'start low and go slow,’” Wallace says. By promoting feedback and testing assumptions, prototyping allows for those implementing to hone and improve (and, if necessary, kill) the innovation before rolling it out on the biggest stage.

While prototyping might best lend itself to the minor leagues, prototyping at the major-league level could also be a boon, especially if it helps with execution in the playoffs. We saw Joe Maddon use a quick hook with his back-end starting pitchers all season, quickly going to his long relievers (usually, converted starting pitchers). According to Sahadev Sharma of Baseball Prospectus Wrigleyville, “Hammel was really angry early on with how he [was] pulled early in games…he was not performing well and Maddon kind of saw the writing on the wall that he had to prepare him for the postseason, that this might happen.” Had Maddon not “prototyped” the quick hook during the season, he might not have been as confident going to his bullpen so early in postseason games, his relievers might not have been as comfortable or familiar with the roles they were being asked to play, and his starters might have been worried about being pulled early instead of solely focusing on getting outs. After losing Game One of the NLDS, the Cubs won the next three games, while only getting 4 2/3, 5 2/3, and 3 innings from their starting pitchers.

Feedback

Prototyping not only improves implementation by allowing us to test our hypothesis and make changes based on our observations, but also allows us to make improvements based on user feedback. No matter how good our observations or acute our empathy, there are still going to be things the users feel and see that we could not foresee. Building those user insights into our analysis, process, and design is critical in order to optimally implement our ideas. Back to Wallace,

“[feedback is] something we take very seriously, we’re constantly going back to that, will they do it, what do they feel like, do they feel like there’s value there…Their feedback is so critical and so wanted and at the end of the day it’s going to guide that decision in such a huge way.”

A.J. Hinch offered a similar sentiment:

“Players are smart. They are invested. They are hungry for success. They know themselves very well. And they have opinions. If I am trying to get the most out of a player, why wouldn't I listen to his opinion or ideas or feedback? Communication is a two-way street.”

Seeking and valuing feedback also has another benefit: it improves buy-in from those providing the feedback. The more an idea can be “ours” as opposed to “theirs,” the more likely the end user is to embrace the new process.

While these are the advantages, it is important to note that looking for feedback and getting productive feedback are two different things. People—and, thus, organizations—are good at getting feedback they want to hear or comprehending feedback to mean what they want. In order to get the best possible feedback, teams must be analyzing their own process to ensure they are not falling to the usual behavioral biases. They also need to prove to the end user that the feedback is not just hot air, that it is actually being considered and used. The better the observation and user focus at the beginning of the process, the better teams can accomplish these goals.

What’s Next

Through observation, empathy, prototyping, and feedback baseball teams are already starting to improve the implementation process by utilizing design thinking. Improving implementation is probably the easiest, most practical, and least disruptive way teams can leverage design thinking. This may be one solution, as Ben Cherington once posited, to “finding ways to optimize player performance and get guys into the higher range of possibilities.”

While improving implementation is a positive step forward, it is one that (i) has probably already been taken forward by many teams and (ii) will be pretty easily replicated by those who have not. Consequently, it is believable that improved implementation techniques will become (just like scouting and analytics), if they are not already, a means for keeping up with the competition rather than a differentiator. This is not to say that improved implementation (or scouting or analytics) is not important; rather, this is saying that it is critical.

If we are looking for differentiation (which we are), incorporating design thinking into organizations’ cultures for the purpose of improving innovation might be that next step. Tomorrow we will take a look at what “incorporating design thinking into an organization’s culture” means and the way baseball teams might gain a true leg up on the competition by doing so.

***

“Success brings positive reinforcement, and we easily leap to justify the expectation that past success predicts an ongoing record of brilliance…Such delusional thinking is not all bad. It provides a number of benefits: confidence in the face of risk or danger; and blindness to doubt and the possibility of failure. If we weren’t so selectively perceptive, we might just stay in bed all day…These delusions shift from assets into liabilities only when we need to change in order to move to a new level of performance.” – Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Maybe, as Marshall Goldsmith says, a “new level of performance” is not needed for today’s baseball teams. Maybe they can keep getting a little bit better, grinding out a win here and a win there in order to be successful. Maybe the money will roll in no matter what. Maybe teams are already taking new approaches in an attempt to create step-change innovation or major differentiation and we just do not see it because it is all happening behind a curtain.

That is a lot maybes, a lot of stuff we do not know. What we do know is that continuing to use a previously successful strategy is both useful in achieving incremental gains for a certain period of time and a near guaranteed way to be surpassed by the competition. Without innovation, we will always be bested by the market and the diminishing return curve.

You all met Tim Brown in the last two articles, but here is what he has to say on the matter: “[Predictability] leads to results that rivals find easy to copy.” He continues, “It is better to take an experimental approach: share processes, share collective ownership of ideas, and enable teams to learn from one another.”

What Brown is talking about here is creating a design thinking-influenced culture that will lead to improved innovation. Again, maybe teams are already trying to create such a culture, but we do not know. As we did yesterday with implementation, we will look at the methods and concepts of implementing design thinking across an organization from the perspective of design thinkers, businesses, and, as best we can, those in baseball.

Curiosity and Challenging Assumptions

Now that IDEO has been helping companies incorporate design thinking into their boardrooms, processes, and, ultimately, their corporate cultures for well over a decade, we asked, “What do companies that have integrated design thinking into their culture look like?” Brown—IDEO’s CEO since 2001—responded that those organizations "have an ability and a tendency to embrace new ideas (more so than) organizations that haven’t.” Brown notes that, more than anything, these companies are curious. Curiosity causes us to observe our end users, to ask for feedback, to ask why, to ask questions rather than accepting the status quo, and to challenge basic assumptions. When asked on the Design Matters Podcast with Debbie Millman how often he finds IDEO reframing its customers’ questions and problems, Brown resolutely answers, “All the time.”

Curiosity and challenging assumptions are nothing new to innovation in baseball. They are the reason this website exists. They are the reasons for the “Sabermetric revolution” and baseball’s information age. While the mountains of data, complex computer code, brilliant analysts, and Wall Street strategies share the spotlight, none would be on stage if nobody asked, “Why are we doing things this way?” Questions such as “How much does the way a player gets on base matter?” and “Why do we position our infielders in pretty much the same way for every hitter?” and “Is there more to catcher defense than blocking balls and throwing out runners?” and many others do not get asked without such a mindset.

Clearly, baseball is capable of the mindset needed for design thinking, but capability rarely gets anyone to breakthrough innovation alone. Once an organization has been successful with a certain strategy or process, innovation tends to be filtered through the lens of operational feasibility. Brown points out that “almost all organizations, when they start, are explorations; and then they turn into reliable implementation and execution kind-of machines.” For example, Claudia Kotchka mentions that at Proctor & Gamble, a Consumer Packaged Goods giant that differentiated through branding and operational efficiency for decades, “innovation” had tended to become buying or repositioning a brand (usually to sell the product at a premium) and then finding every way possible to improve operational efficiency through reducing costs and increasing run rate. This process was successful at achieving incremental improvements, but step-change innovation was thusly limited.

In baseball, over a decade and a half after the beginning of baseball’s information age, our innovations are all generally starting to follow the same recipe: acquire new information, analyze the information, find what has thus been improperly valued, and adjust process and valuations accordingly. Again, there is nothing wrong with finding these improvements; in fact, they are crucial for sustaining short-term success. The idea here, though, is to also be searching for something more and to do so we need to be able to escape the lens of operational feasibility.

Learning by Doing

Design thinking involves experimentation, prototyping, and iteration in order produce solutions and innovations. While we looked at how baseball teams might be using prototyping or related concepts already, many businesses and their processes are not structured to allow for learning by doing. Rather, these organizations are structured to go directly from analysis to solution to planning to implementation. This approach makes it easy to leave assumptions unchecked and to overlook different perspectives and user experiences. Brown notes,

“The only safe way to do that is to do something that somebody has done before, which by definition is incremental. One of my concerns with the output coming from the management consulting world is not they don’t do great work, they do, but the nature of the way they work tends to mean (the output) has to be incremental because they have to prove something is going to work before they do it. Therefore they revert to the same things somewhere else; we then see these repeating strategies that get implemented time and time again whether or not they are necessarily the best solution.”

Conversely, allowing for the "learning by doing" phase provides a space for small, acceptable, useful failures. A safe space for failure is hugely important because breakthrough innovation almost never happens without some failure along the way.

Baseball, at least for the players, is a game of learning by doing. Learning a new pitch, mechanics, position, or mindset all involve experimentation, feel, and everything else that goes along with learning by doing. But while the failure that is inherent in the game itself is tolerated, it is unclear that failure in experimentation is tolerated. What is clear, however, is that organizations that tend to extend shorter leashes to their front offices and managers (Marlins, Diamondbacks, Mariners) tend to show the least amount of experimentation and innovation. Now, it is tough to tell which is the figurative chicken or egg, but it does seem reasonable (and this is certainly not an original thought) that innovation will be stifled the more experimentation is frowned upon by ownership.

Collaboration

Another way design thinking promotes innovation is through collaboration between multiple disciplines. Kotchka, discussing the benefits of design, said,

“What I like about design thinking, is that it’s really about taking your talents and maximizes what they can do (from an idea creation perspective). In a business, everyone has great ideas, but when you’re in a system, it’s hard to get any of those ideas out. Because it’s multi-disciplinary, it gets the different disciplines talking, all working toward the same end goal and encourages people to really think differently by getting them to think about the end users.”

In baseball, ideas regarding innovation tend to start in the front office and flow downstream. As mentioned in yesterday’s article, teams are not just sending down ideas and hoping they stick; they are asking for feedback too. What Kotchka is discussing, though, is not just involving coaches and players for feedback for the purposes of implementation, but rather involving more parties in the idea creation process. A.J. Hinch offered a sentiment that is consistent with Kotchka’s, noting, “it isn't about where the information comes from (players, staff, front office) as long as the premise is that it helps them become better players.”

Design thinking not only allows for ideas to come from more disciplines, it allows for those with different perspectives to work together to produce better, often more fully formed, ideas. Those in the front office might be more inclined to come up with ideas, but they can also lack the details of what is going on at the ground level. Meanwhile, coaches and, especially, players have more pressing concerns—mainly executing on the playing field—than coming up with new ideas. Roger Martin, business strategy advisor and thinker, mentions this paradox: that those tasked with execution “have the most data, but they also ignore the most. Once they latch onto a theory of how the world works, they only find information that confirms this.” Collaboration potentially works to fight this paradox by asking those with ideas to work with those with experience, while asking those with experience to take a momentary step away from their important tasks of execution.

***

While we have now discussed the potential benefits of a design thinking-influence culture for baseball teams, we need to mention that organizations cannot simply decide to do so. Doing so requires resources and commitment—particularly from leadership. According to Kotchka, the people most likely to commit to design thinking (or anything new) were either “those that are in trouble” that “might as well try something new “ or those that had gained success through being progressive and thus understood the benefits of change (and the dangers of complacency).

Beyond buy-in, learning the skills and concepts of design and then understanding how to best use those skills is needed. These are difficult tasks, ones that require more than a few professional classes and bringing in consultants (designers) for a month. Brown notes,

“You have to master the skills, you have to master the discipline in order to be truly great…If you go with a strategy of just thinly spreading [design thinking] over the whole organization, you’ll have no mastery, you’ll probably have a lot of failure, people will get disappointed quite quickly, and give up.”

Brown continues by mentioning that it often takes many years of learning, lessons learned, and culture change (often with the aid of design consultants) before companies develop their own “masters,” before they truly integrate design thinking into their organization. As a result, just like the shift, a new pitch, a new batting stance, or anything else, design thinking will not prevail if abandoned at the first sight of failure. Mastery takes time, behavior and culture change take even longer, and none of this can happen without support and direction from leadership.

Lastly, buy-in from leadership is necessary because no team would ever decide on investing in a design thinking-influenced culture based on return on investment (ROI), but then again, no team would ever trade a prospect or sign a top tier free agent if only looking at ROI. Clayton Christensen, the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, has long argued that ROI stifles innovation by placing focus on the percentage of growth as opposed to the amount of growth. The point of all this is to say that incremental innovation (hire another analyst or scout, procure more information, etc.) will always be more appealing from an ROI perspective, but differentiating innovation will rarely be achieved this way. Put more simply by Kotchka, “You cannot innovate based on data because by definition data doesn’t exist yet.”

We do not know what the future holds for baseball. What we do know, though, is that the next ideas to truly revolutionize the game will probably not resemble past ideas, other than by challenging many of the basic assumptions that we currently hold true. It might not have anything to do with design thinking, but design thinking might just help us get there.

Sources:
Goldsmith, M., & Reiter, M. (2007). What got you here won't get you there: How successful people become even more successful. Hyperion.
Brown, T. (2009). Change by Design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. New York, New York: Harper Business.
Millman, Debbie. 'Tim Brown'. Design Matters with Debbie Millman. N.p., 2009. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
Brown, Tim, and Roger Martin. "Design for Action." Harvard Business Review. 1 Sept. 2015. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
Lindbergh, Ben. "Sabermetrics Gets Soft." Grantland. 19 Aug. 2014. Web. 9 Nov. 2015

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Ogremace
1/03
Awesome. I'm not sure how it could be done, but I would be fascinated to see a truly in-depth exploration of the the way these ideas are actually built into a major league team. From an outside perspective, it's probably information never to be gathered. But I do feel like baseball is itching for something new, something more than further crunching numbers and teaching your manager what WPA is. Hopefully we'll see something come along that totally blows our mind about how to think about the game.