Anil Rathi BBA1997 has built a business around rewarding good ideas. As the creator of the Innovation Challenge, which he describes as the world’s largest and most established online innovation competition, Rathi has been matching talented students with top companies since 2002.
Today, the Innovation Challenge is recognized globally not only as a means for businesses to get fresh ideas and talent, but also as a way for students to win cash prizes, network, and gain real-world experience. Many students also benefit from the competition through securing internships and jobs.
Rathi was a 2014 winner of the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s Forward under 40 award, which honors young alumni for significant achievement.
As founder and CEO of Skild, the online software platform he designed to administer the Innovation Challenge, Rathi has given organizations worldwide the opportunity to host their own innovation challenges. Hosts are able to easily register participants, collect entries, and enable judges to evaluate submissions. This cloud-based platform has powered nearly 400 competitions for Fortune 500 companies, universities, government agencies, nonprofits, and foundations around the globe.
“Skild is democratizing the power of online challenges to inspire creativity, capture imagination, and promote social good through crowd sourcing,” he says..
One example: he helped to facilitate a competition for the Active Schools Acceleration Project as part of ChildObesity180, an initiative at Tufts University dedicated to reversing childhood obesity. The competition drew students and teachers from schools across the nation who generated outstanding ideas on how to increase physical activity among children. The best of those ideas are now being implemented in educational institutions nationwide. In total, nine winning schools were awarded grants of $25,000 or more.
Rathi said he has always enjoyed dreaming about the future and what the future will look like. That’s why his guiding philosophy is inspired by computer scientist Alan Kay: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”