YiA Judges


SLI Systems

Wayne exited Canterbury University with a degree and PhD in Civil Engineering. During his degree he focussed on the computation aspects of structural engineering and the following PhD applied those techniques to modelling the structural properties of a woollen yarn – a complex problem in nonlinear mechanics. This work led to work as a research scientist in various aspects of the wool industry but concentrating on fundamental physical properties of the woollen structures, including modelling the performance of a single fibre at the cellular level.

A change of industry saw Wayne take a giant leap of faith into an internet startup called GlobalBrain, to develop a learning technology for web search engines – an idea truly ahead of its time. Rapid success lead to a company buy out, however, and GlobalBrain soon fell victim to the dot com bubble burst. Aware of the value and importance of the learning technology, Wayne and his fellow Kiwis purchased the IP back and went on to form SLI Systems where he is currently the CTO.

There is an interesting story of innovation along this timeline, both technologically as new products and algorithms were developed, and innovation of process as a growing company continued to require different approaches to solving problems as the staff count and data volumes changed.

A person is the sum of their parts however, and Wayne believes that innovation is a part of every aspect of life. Wayne spends his spare time in acts of physical creation, problem solving and innovating continuously during each project. Wayne’s major projects include a sailboat, building a motorhome from an old school bus, and the conversion of a 1960s vehicle to electric propulsion.