Norman Winarsky


Norman Winarsky

Lecturer in Management


Norman Winarsky is past president of SRI Ventures at SRI International, a world-leading research institute founded by Stanford University in 1946. He has been a founder and leader of SRI’s venture strategy and process, which has resulted in more than sixty ventures worth over $20 billion, including companies such as Nuance, Intuitive Surgical, and Siri. He is also a lecturer at Stanford University, and coauthor with Henry Kressel of If You Really Want to Change the World; A Guide to Creating, Building, and Sustaining Breakthrough Ventures, published by Harvard Business Review Press.

Norman helped create and build companies in areas ranging from artificial intelligence, natural language, and computer vision, to medical devices, robotics, and nanotechnology. He has been a board member or board adviser to many of these companies. He was a cofounder and board member of Siri, which was spun out from SRI in January 2008 and acquired by Apple in April 2010. Siri has become a worldwide phenomenon, establishing the breakthrough market category of virtual personal assistant.

Before joining SRI, Norman was vice president of the mathematics and computer science division at RCA Laboratories and Sarnoff Laboratories. He was also a visiting scholar at Stanford University; an invited member of the mathematics department of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey; and a mathematics professor at the State University of New York at Albany.

In 2000, Norman and his team won an Emmy Award for outstanding achievement in technological advancement, specifically “a unique technology to predict how viewers will perceive the quality of digitally processed TV images or still pictures.” In addition, he has received RCA Laboratories’ highest honor, the Sarnoff Award.

Norman works with entrepreneurs, startups, research institutes, and major companies to create breakthrough ventures or products. He also advises them on the framework and practice for successful innovation. He has been a keynote speaker at hundreds of corporations, institutes, and universities.

Norman earned the BA, MS, and PhD degrees in mathematics from the University of Chicago, with highest honors. He lives in Palo Alto, CA with his wife Lisbeth. His children Hanne, David, and Peter, and their families, also reside in the San Francisco Bay area.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Mathematics, University of Chicago, 1974
  • MS, Mathematics, University of Chicago, 1970
  • AB, Mathematics, University of Chicago, 1969

Academic Appointments

  • Lecturer, Stanford GSB, 2015–2016
  • Visiting Scholar, Stanford University, 2000–2012

Professional Experience

  • Advisor, Ventures Group, SRI International, 2015–present
  • Venture Advisor, Relay Ventures, 2014–present
  • President SRI Ventures, SRI International, 2015
  • Board Member, Tempo AI, 2013–2015
  • President SRI Ventures, SRI International, 2001–2015
  • Chair, Commercialization Board, SRI International, 2001–2015
  • VP of Ventures and Licensing, Sarnoff Corporation, 1998–2001
  • VP of Information Technology Division, RCA Laboratories, 1976–86


Journal Articles


Book Chapters

Service to the Profession

  • Past Chair, Visiting Committee for Physical Science, The University of Chicago, 2006-present