Hello and welcome! Its Simon here, taking a break from coding! Today I will be having a conversation with our newest Spatial Quotient member, Kathryn White. She is joining us as CTO, and will be helping guide our innovation & tech strategy. Lets get to it!

S: Kathryn, great to have you with us.

K: Thanks Simon, it’s nice to finally come on board officially after supporting Spatial Quotient for the past few years through my previous role with the Impact Lab at University of Exeter.

Kathryn White

Tell us a bit about your background.

I tend to refer to myself as a ‘Professional Jack of All Trades’ and have spent the majority of my career supporting innovation from different directions. I started out in the Financial Services, working for Royal Bank of Scotland. For most of my eight years with them, I worked within the Research & Innovation team, and spent the final two and a half years out in Silicon Valley setting up an Innovation Scouting office. My time in Silicon Valley got me interested in the nature of Innovation Ecosystems. It was such a powerful environment for creation and problem solving, but sometimes I was frustrated that so many companies were solving what seemed like superficial problems. I wanted to see the power of an Innovation Ecosystem used to solve serious world issues. So I moved on from the bank, and took a year out of normal life to travel around the world doing on the ground research into Innovation Ecosystems, mainly in emerging markets. I travelled through 20 countries in 8 months across Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and South America. I shared updates about my trip on www.global-innovation-project.com and wrote up a final report about Building Successful Innovation Ecosystems in Different Cultures. While doing my research I was also completing a Master of Business Innovation (MBI) degree, with the research as my dissertation project. That all wrapped up in September of 2017, and on 1st January 2018 I moved down to Devon for a new job supporting the South West Innovation Ecosystem. From Monday 6th July Spatial Quotient were operationally ready to enter hospitals. With this major milestone accomplished, we began the process of contacting our existing clients and clinics, informing them that we are COVID safe, and ready to help them when they need us most.

We first made contact with you through the Impact Lab, a South West UK innovation group. Can you tell us a bit more about them and the work they do?

The full title is The Environmental Futures & Big Data Impact Lab, which is a bit unwieldy to say but does give more insight into what the programme does. It’s a partnership between seven Devon-based research institutions, funded by the European Regional Development Fund to help Devon-based small/medium enterprises (SMEs) to develop innovative new products, services or processes related to environment and big data. Some examples of that include a company using satellite data to survey trees, and a team developing environmentally sustainable low cost medical training equipment for use in developing nations. It can be environmentally-focussed projects, big data projects, or a mix of the two. Spatial Quotient (or That Figures as it was called then) came to the Impact Lab looking for help developing their data analytics capability, particularly around Machine Learning. We set up a short term collaborative project where one of the Impact Lab’s technical experts built a set of machine learning algorithms to automatically detect anomalous data points; map floor plans automatically using the data points collected; and cluster commonly-used patient pathways. We also got the ball rolling on the Knowledge Transfer Partnership, which was designed to follow on from the Impact Lab project. Impact Lab support is offered for free, so it’s well worth checking out if you are a business based in Devon (or interested in relocated or opening an office in Devon). The services offered include: having high quality technical specialists working with you as part of the project team; advice and idea development; small grants to purchase goods and services to support the project; and access to academic specialists from any of the partner organisations. Those partners are: University of Exeter (the lead partner), University of Plymouth, The Met Office, Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Exeter City Futures and Rothamstead Research. To find out more go to www.impactlab.org.uk.

What attracted you to Spatial Quotient? Was it solely our alpacas?

Ha! The alpacas were certainly an added benefit (and the pigs and Bosley the giant dog).

From the time I first met Tim and he explained the concept of Spatial Quotient to me I really connected with it and have always been excited by the potential of the business. I’ve also worked with startups, and to support startups, for many years, so this was a great opportunity for me to work inside a startup.

In your new role as CTO, what will you be focused on?

My main focus is building an innovative long term product strategy and developing the capability to deliver that roadmap. That means ensuring all of our current business processes and team are aligned towards the same vision, and building up new areas of capability, particularly around hardware and software development.

And finally, you've already been involved with the roll out of our new brand identity. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

A lot of work went into the design of the new brand, with a lot of debate about what the new name should be. Once we’d settled on Spatial Quotient, our brand consultants, Heavenly, created a fantastic logo and visual identity. The idea of Spatial Quotient is that we’ll have a Spatial Quotient Index to benchmark how effectively hospitals use their space, staff and other resources. It marks our move away from short term consultancy projects into building a fully automatic flow management tool. We’re planning a bigger launch of the new brand in 2021, but for now we’re excited to have our new website live and to start regularly sharing content with you all again!
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Simon Kirby
Data Scientist, Spatial Quotient