NEWS: Steven Houston of Williams Advanced Engineering to deliver guest talk at 2020 OptaPro Forum

Article by Amy West

Steven Houston, Business Dynamics Manager at Williams Advanced Engineering, will deliver the guest talk at the 2020 OptaPro Forum.

After welcoming leading analytics practitioners from the NBA (Dean Oliver and Luke Bornn), NFL (Dennis Lock) and MLB (Mike Fitzgerald) to talk at previous Forums, this year Houston will draw on his experiences of working across different sports to provide insights into what football departments can learn from high-performance analytical processes pioneered in Formula 1.

After starting his career within Insurance, Houston moved into professional sport initially becoming an intern for an NBA team and subsequently spent a number of years working as an international scouting consultant. He then moved into professional football, spending three years at Chelsea as Head of Technical Scouting and Data Analysis before moving to Germany in 2011, working as Head of Technical Scouting & Recruitment for Bundesliga side Hamburger SV.

His most recent role in football was with Sunderland, joining them in 2014, where he spent over two years as Head of Scouting.

In his current role at Williams Advanced Engineering, Houston supports leading businesses across a diverse range of industries and other sports, to help improve team performance through implementing a Formula 1 approach to operations, data analytics and innovation, as well as developing a high-performance culture. Part of his role also includes supporting the Formula 1 team on various operations.

Houston’s talk at the 2020 OptaPro Forum will discuss transferable insights, challenges around translating analytical findings in a real-time environment and consider what football can learn from F1 and Motorsport in relation to the application of analytics.

After confirming his guest talk at the Forum, which is taking place in London on 5th February, Houston said:

“Having attended the Forum previously, I am delighted to have the opportunity to reconnect with some old faces and share my experiences of working in a new industry where the application of data analytics is a key driving force behind innovation.

“There are a number of challenges faced by analysts in F1, such as being able to identify key performance trends from complex outputs in a matter of seconds, which is something I am sure their counterparts in football can relate to.

“By providing some insights into our processes, I hope I can offer a different perspective on how to approach common challenges which could benefit departments across different levels of elite football.”

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