Skip to content
Xiao Ma

Xiao Ma

Professor and Director of Centre for Business Transformation

Nottingham Business School


Xiao Ma is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management at Nottingham Business School, and the Director of the Centre for Business and Industry Transformation – CBIT.  As the CBIT Director, Xiao is to provide leadership for all centre activities including empowering disruptive entrepreneurs through personalised education, building ventures to transform industries, and conducting world-leading & high-impact research.

Career overview

Xiao is an internationally recognised thought-leader and educator in entrepreneurship, business transformation, and digital economy. He has been a bridge between industry and academia, with a track record of building collaborative research and education programme.

He was the Head of the WMG Accelerator, University of Warwick, to fast-track growth for innovative businesses to disrupt industry “norms”. He has also co-created the MSc. in Innovation and Entrepreneurship degree programme, which was ranked No.1 in the UK for entrepreneurship by Eduniversal.

He spent some time as a strategic consultant in his early career, and led transformation projects for many businesses, including some Fortune 500 companies and many PLCs listed in US, UK, China, Japan and Singapore.

He is a seasoned entrepreneur, a 5-time founder to start, grow and exit ventures in Europe and Asia.

Research areas

Xiao has gained national and international recognition in the field of entrepreneurship, innovation, data science, artificial intelligence, digital economy, service ecosystem, entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.

Xiao's current research interests:

  • Digital Economy, particularly driven by Personal Data (owned by individuals) and PrivTech.
  • B2B platforms, competence mapping (for a region or sector) driven business collaboration, business cloud, and business benchmarking
  • Transformative methodologies for businesses and their stakeholders in the value constellation: especially through the lens of system theory; service ecosystem; computational ontology; knowledge Representation.
  • Impact of technologies on business models, economic models and society: particular technology advancement from Data Science; IoT; Machine Learning; Artificial Intelligence; Personal Data;
  • Business transformation and new business models for achieving better sustainability and towards Net Zero. i.e. smart animal husbandry models to reduce methane emission; digital twin for beef farming to improve sustainability across value chain and enable alternative finance models; smart agriculture to transform agri-machinery manufacturing; a corporate ESG driven new business model.

Xiao is currently open to PhD and DBA supervisions.

External activity

Xiao is active in external engagement with both public and private organisations.

  • He is a regular speaker for keynote address in digital economy, entrepreneurship, and business transformation.
  • He is an Editorial Board Member for Journal of Business Models (ISSN: 2246-2465), Denmark.
  • He served as an expert panel member (or providing expert evidence) for various organisations such as European Commission’s GDPR round-table consultation; IET Standards committee for IoT; DCMS Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation for data mobility; etc.
  • He was a visiting Professor at Inner Mongolia University, China, and co-created the UK-China Digital Economy Lab.
  • He acts as an independent advisor into several organisations.
  • He sits on investment committee as an independent member for a Private Equity fund and a Venture Capital. .

Sponsors and collaborators

Collaborating with many industry partners, Xiao has built a portfolio of over £5m research projects.

Selective research projects:

  • EPSRC funded - PRIvacy-aware personal data management and Value Enhancement for Leisure Travellers (PriVELT)
  • High Value Manufacturing Catapult funded - WMG Accelerator
  • EPSRC funded - Control and Trust as Moderating Mechanisms in addressing Vulnerability for the Design of Business and Economic Models (ConTriVE)
  • EPSRC funded - Smart Me versus Smart Things: The Development of a Personal Resource Planning (PRP) System through Human Interactions with Data Enabled by the IoT


  • Miao, Y., Lin, Z., Ma, X., Ding, G. and Han, J., (2021). Learning Transformation-Invariant Local Descriptors with Low-Coupling Binary Codes. IEEE Transactions on Image Processing.
  • Wieringa, J., Kannan, P. K., Ma, X., Reutterer, T., Risselada, H., & Skiera, B. (2021). Data analytics in a privacy-concerned world. Journal of business research.
  • Ng, Irene C. L., Wakenshaw, Susan Y. L., Dhamotharan, Lalitha, Ma, Xiao, Tasker, Paul, Maull, Roger, Crowcroft, Jon and Parry, Glenn (2018) Response to centre for data ethics and innovation consultation. HAT Community Foundation.
  • Ma, X., Bal, J. and Issa, A., (2014). A fast and economic ontology engineering approach towards improving capability matching: Application to an online engineering collaborative platform. Computers in Industry.
  • Ma, X., Pogrebna, G. and Ng, I., 2014, December. Smart home, smart things and smart me in the smart city: the hub-of-all-things resource integration and enabling tool (HARRIET). In IET Conference on Future Intelligent Cities (pp. 1-6). IET.

See all of Xiao Ma's publications...