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Emily Ma

Emily  Ma
Lecturer, Marketing
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Lecturer in Management
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Emily Ma is the Head of Special Projects in business at Google[x], a stealth group within Google focused on developing high-impact hardware technologies that have the potential to massively improve hundreds of millions of lives. Projects include the self-driving car, which aims to solve for university mobility, and the smart contact lens, which aims to change the lives of 450 million diabetics by monitoring biochemistry in real time. Emily works at the intersection of business, technology, geopolitics and design, which is fundamental to the ‘moonshot thinking’ mindset at Google[x]. After managing global field operations for Google Glass and the expansion of the Glass Explorer program to twenty countries,Emily now focuses her time almost entirely on Project Loon, a global mesh network of balloons in the stratosphere, which aims to connect 4 billion people in the world who do not yet have access to the internet.

Emily started her career as a mechanical engineer and roboticist. During her time with IDEO, a global design and innovation consultancy, Emily worked on end-to-end innovation programs with clients ranging from Eli Lilly to Procter & Gamble, during which she came to embrace the equal importance of human-centered design, engineering and business. After working with a startup team to scale IDEO Shanghai into a full-service office, she returned to Stanford University to pursue her MBA at the business school, where she became the inaugural Business Design Fellow post-graduation. As a fellow, she collaborated with Stanford Business School faculty to develop classes including ‘Designing Happiness’, ‘Brands, Experiences and Social Technology’ and ‘Leading Durable Organizations’. Many years later, Emily continues to volunteer her energy at Stanford by coaching executive education courses including ‘Customer-Focused Innovation’ and ‘Design Thinking Bootcamp for Executives’. More recently, she has taught pop-up classes such as ‘Activating Potential in Urban Spaces’ and ‘Scaling Sharing’ at the Stanford Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the She currently holds lecturer appointments jointly at the Stanford School of Engineering and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Emily holds seven patents spanning medical devices to consumer electronics. Among her most intriguing inventions is a portable transcranial magnetic stimulator, dubbed the ‘migraine zapper’ by her TED-prize winning client Robert Fischell, and a construction method for gluing entire wood-frame houses together. Emily has a Bachelors and Masters degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA from Stanford University. She continues to serve on the board of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program as a former Mayfield Fellow. Beyond entrepreneurship and design thinking, Emily is passionate about increasing opportunities for women in science, technology and engineering. Her fondest moments in life often involve some combination of young women, unruly robots, and some hilarious catastrophic failure. Her greatest accomplishment this year is celebrating the 10th Year Anniversary of Gatorbotics, the all-girls high school robotics team she founded at Castilleja School, a program which has now hundreds of alumni studying engineering at college and serving as professional engineers in industry.

Academic Degrees

  • MBA, Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • MS, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University
  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University

Academic Appointments

  • Lecturer, Stanford GSB, 2015-16
  • Lecturer, Stanford D. School, 2005-present

Professional Experience

  • Head, Special Projects, Business Innovation, Google[x], 2013-present
  • COO, Gallup Ventures, 2011-present
  • Chief of Staff, PCH International, 2012-13
  • Downstream Marketing Manager, Intuitive Surgical, 2009
  • Design + Program Lead, IDEO, 2004-2008
  • Cross-pollinator + Engineering Lead, IDEO, 2006-2007
  • Biomimetics Robotics Lab Research Assistant, Stanford University, 2001-04

Awards and Honors

  • Design Fellow, Stanford GSB, 2010-2011

Courses Taught

Degree Courses


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