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SRI's Secrets to Successful Innovation

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From the creation of the first computer mouse to the development of Siri, SRI International has been propelling tech innovation for over half a century. The nonprofit research institute is responsible for advancements across any number of fields, from media to medicine, education to economics, ARPANET to modern AI.
SRI has created and launched more than 40 Ventures, with a total market capitalization exceeding $20 billion, and hundreds of high value licences for their IP. Behind this effort is a process of research, development, deployment and commercialization for ventures and licenses that brings to bear its own innovative practices

In this conversation, TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha sits down with SRI VP of Ventures Norman Winarsky to discuss SRI’s spin out philosophy and process, their current and future projects, and the contemporary ecosystem of innovation from incubators to research institutes.



Anthony Ha Tech Journalist TechCrunch

Norman Winarsky VP, Ventures SRI International

Norman Winarsky is Vice President of Ventures at SRI International. As such he is responsible for creating SRI's highest value venture and license opportunities. He is a founder of SRI's venture process, including venture and license incubation, seed funding, the Entrepreneur-In-Residence program, and Venture Capital engagement.

Winarsky was co-founder and board member of Siri, which was spun out from SRI in January 2008, and acquired by Apple in April, 2010. Siri has now been incorporated into the Apple iPhone 4S.

He chairs SRI's Commercialization Board and the nVention Board, a partnership with the venture capital community that develops early-stage investment opportunities.

Winarsky helped found approximately 30 ventures, published approximately 50 papers, and holds three patents with several pending. He has a particular focus on natural language, computer vision, and artificial intelligence. (See -

He is a Visiting Scholar at Stanford, and is also Chairman of the University of Chicago Visiting Committee for the Physical Sciences Division. He was a member of the National Academy Committee on Forecasting Future Disruptive Technologies, a National Science Foundation Fellow, an invited member of the mathematics department of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and an Assistant Professor at SUNY at Albany.

In 2011, Winarsky received the University of Chicago Alumni Service Award. In 2000, He and his team received an Emmy Award for outstanding achievement in technological advancement. In addition, Winarsky has received RCA's highest honor, the Sarnoff Award.

Winarsky graduated with a B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Chicago, and was awarded Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. In addition he was awarded the Paul J. Cohen award for the outstanding student in Mathematics.