Partnership, collaboration and learning from others is so important to the development and success of KJR. Join us as we chat to some of our closest industry allies – old friends, new peers and general movers-and-shakers. This month, we sat down with Steve Woodyatt, CEO of Datarwe.
“My headset’s been acting up a bit, lately.”
Steve Woodyatt speaks from the other side of the virtual meeting room, the COVID-19 new-norm. Technical mishaps still occur in the home office, even for the CEO of medical innovation organisation Datarwe. Despite the pandemic, life has gone on and so have our jobs. For Steve, the impact his organisation will have on the MedTech field has only amplified.
In his “three-phase” career, Steve has journeyed through various technical functions in numerous industries, making headstrong strides in technological innovation. Throughout it all the connecting theme has been “technology, big data and analytics”. After over 30+ years of experience and expertise, he has landed firmly at the helm of Datarwe.
Datarwe was born from the desire to produce positive change in the medical industry. Using real world data stored in the innovative Precision Medical Data Platform (PMDP), industry stakeholders will gain immediacy in the transformation of data to practical power, reducing the timeframe for seeing patient outcomes. Enabling collaboration between medical researchers and professionals is a key feat that the medical platform will encourage – something especially relevant in the ongoing COVID-19 landscape.
In conversation with KJR, Steve opened up about the possibilities of Datarwe’s innovations, KJR’s relationship with Datarwe, his favourite drop of wine and what the “next industrial revolution” might look like.
KJR: Datarwe has received an abundance of praise so far and has a very human mission in permanently improving medical innovation. What drew you to this role?
Steve: Seeing the positive role of technology, (especially AI and machine learning), can play in improving the overall human condition. Major technological changes occur in waves, and I’ve always been interested in roles that can help redefine whole industry waves and unlock ways of solving new problems.
KJR: And what other industries have you been attracted to in your career? What has your professional journey to leadership been like?
Steve: Admittedly, when I started out in the 80s, big data wasn’t a term – nor was analytics. But even in those days I was involved in enormous signal processing challenges and in the resources industry, such as the development of airborne and satellite based hyperspectral remote sensing platforms. In those days hundreds of megabytes of data was an enormity that could barely be comprehended. In my first career phase was I was an applied researcher at BHP Research and got very hooked on the concept of being able to extract features from large datasets. I loved taking and applying data to a wide range of business problems. I did so for 13 years before I made a career change into finance, which again has an order of magnitude scale large dataset challenges as well. I managed a couple of fully automated and data-driven hedge funds, looked at automated technology for trading decisions at the high speed, and ended up creating software and then an industry utility platform company that transacted trading activity in excess of $150 billion (nominal) a day.
KJR: So you’ve had quite a journey getting here, then.
Steve: Yes, definitely. Having successfully exited those businesses to private equity firms in the U.S., in this third phase of my career I wanted to take the same common theme of big data, data analytics and utility plays for the industry and apply that to medical innovation and technology.
KJR: And how did your interest in medical innovation develop? Can you pinpoint a moment or decision that lead you down this path?
Steve: I’ve always had an interest in medical technology – my earliest memories are of my father being one of the earliest recipients of medical transplant technology in Australia. His transplant was one of the first successes and gave him an extra lease on life while I was a young boy, allowing me to have a relationship with the father I otherwise wouldn’t have known. That life experience helped colour and frame exactly what it was I wanted to achieve in life.
KJR: There’s probably no such thing as an average day at work for a CEO, but what does a really good day look like for you?
Steve: I would be in the mix with my team, which unfortunately is a little curtailed these days with COVID, and most definitely being in conversation with customers – picking through their issues and challenges they face in the delivery of better patient outcomes. Discussion time with clinicians and health professionals is extremely limited, so any window of opportunity to “get strategic” and discuss what solutions may assist lifting the level of care and outcomes of the health system is very gratifying for me.