Home / Technology / Advancement Data in Bolt’s 100M Gold

  • William Cleaves
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  • alumni engagement - Alumni Relations - data - donor - giving - measuring engagement - rio2016 - Usain Bolt -

the-last-data-chapter-in-bolt-100-goldBolt takes gold and remains the fastest man on the planet.

It would appear the same old story, however the New York Times created an awesome interactive graphic that breaks down the spectacle, and Dr. Paul Boyce invites us to to examine the race in chapters defined by the smallest of intervals.

The graphic shows how Bolt comes from behind to snatch the top spot from American Justin Gatlin. His dramatic surge is displayed through basic data points of time and position. The simplicity of this tracking not only shows a method to the madness of the sprint, but offers a precise insight on Bolt’s (and Gatlin’s) performance.

Out of all the data generated, analyzed, and presented for any given track event, Bryce focuses on a few crucial moments in the race, only showing data relevant to an understanding of the come-from-behind win.

Advancement research is no different. Capacity, engagement, visit notes – there’s a mountain of data, but what’s actionable?

In our case, we could tell you all 800 topics, on average, any alum cares about, but aren’t you really just interested in where a donor may give or how to engage them personally? The trick to insights is making the mountain of data fade into the background and actionability obvious.

Does it matter, for the interactive on Bolt, to know his shoe size? What he ate that morning? Air temperature? In understanding his rate of chase and taking the gold, no. None of that matters here. What data are you wrestling with that doesn’t change organizational behavior? With donor insights, often, less is more (where ‘less’ really is the difficult task of creating real insights from voluminous data).

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