In 2002, Skild founder and CEO Anil Rathi launched Innovation Challenge® as a university-based program designed to solve real-world issues by uniting the brightest students with the world’s top global brands, such as GE, AT&T, Hilton Hotels, IBM, RBC, American Express, Harley-Davidson, Shell, and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Since then, Skild has emerged as the industry leader by helping businesses, governments, foundations, and educational institutions successfully plan and produce customized challenge programs. Our ecosystem of services is comprehensive and fully integrated, covering every step from challenge design to marketing & communications to reporting, using our refined, flexible platform throughout. Ultimately, we make challenges efficient, effective, and enjoyable, allowing our clients to focus on what really matters — solving problems, building awareness, catalyzing social innovation, and uniting communities.
Skild has designed, supported and enabled more than 700 global competitions and helped both large and small organizations award prizes valued over $400 million. We have been honored to work with respected organizations like:
We’ve helped over 600 organizations educate and innovate since 2002
Our experience yields a vast understanding of how to help our customers succeed
We’re accessible, we care, and we're fun to work with
We love that our company is helping individuals and communities unite to make the world a better place
Empowering people by tapping into unheard voices and fresh perspectives.
Anil learned at an early age about the power of people. The son of an international businessman, he watched his father travel the world and paid particular attention to what he brought back with him. “He’d meet all these people from everywhere,” he says, “and when they would come into town, he’d invite them over for a dinner party with authentic Indian food. This was in the middle of Iowa! So, I watched people from everywhere get together and share their experiences, their stories, and their cultures. It shaped my life.”
Well, that’s not entirely true. It shapes his life. “For almost 20 years now, I’ve made it my mission to carve out a crossroads where people from all walks of life can come together and share their ideas and their passions.” After graduating from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Anil created the Innovation Challenge®, university-based competitions uniting the world’s brightest students with global brands — Hilton Hotels, American Express, AT&T, Shell, Harley Davidson, Google— to foster new products, services and business models. Now, as the CEO and founder of Skild, he’s taken innovation to the next level, crafting challenge programs that tap into unheard voices and fresh perspectives. To date, he’s produced over 500 public & private challenges generating $200 million in prizes; in the process, he’s worked with clients like Cisco, Samsung, Activision-Blizzard, National Science Foundation and Disney on employee engagement programs and causes ranging from clean energy to childhood obesity.
With all of those challenges, prizes, and partnerships under his belt, you’d think Anil would have perfected a formula for his success. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there is no formula,” he counters. “Ideas are fleeting. Challenges come and go. But people, in all of their complexity and diversity, are the beating heart behind all of it — and the true driver behind any successful organization.”
Doing my part to promote competitions that tackle humanity’s greatest challenges.
Growing up in Ohio, Michael watched movies. A lot of movies. Sure, they were entertaining. But more importantly, they were a means of discovery. “I watched films so I could virtually travel the world,” he says. “I love how they make us think or feel something we might not have otherwise considered or experienced.”
Michael’s passion for movies resulted in a degree in film and photography, but it also led to something else: a desire to put his creativity right back into learning. “I’m a strong believer in education,” he says. “I love bringing my experience and knowledge of challenge structure and fusing it with my creative ideas.” For the past 13 years, he has spent thousands of hours designing, marketing, executing, and publicizing innovation challenges for organizations like The Red Cross, Cisco, and The National Science Foundation. Prior to joining Skild in 2011, he worked at the world’s leading non-profit prize institute, XPRIZE Foundation, where he spearheaded PR. “Helping to promote competitions that tackle humanity’s greatest challenges gave me meaningful purpose.”
One such competition was designed by Skild for The Walt Disney Company. The goal: To inspire kids to be more creative. “This was a really special one for me. Not only did the process awaken untapped creative potential in these kids, but it also revealed to their parents their hidden talents. It built a real connection between them both.”
Which goes a long way toward explaining putting thousands of hours into driving a vehicle for change. “I get satisfaction in knowing that the challenges we help to design and run are helping people transform the world. They’re educating kids, stimulating art, bettering the environment, developing businesses, improving healthcare, and igniting social change.”
Joe has been with Skild for over 10 years. Before joining Skild, Joe was a senior developer at LoanDNA, a web-based platform for transforming affordable housing.
I’m motivated by technology’s positive people effect.
In the late ’90s, Denis Khoo found himself seated on a plane 10 hours a week. Every week. For a year. Sure, the recent UC Berkeley computer science grad could’ve found plenty of tech work in his native California. But he’d discovered something special that allowed him to pursue his goal: “doing work for the benefit of human society.” And so he spent his weekdays in Detroit, consulting for a health insurance provider, returning on weekends, only to do it again. And yes, being that he was serving as lead developer for the world’s first internet-based healthcare referral system, the results were worth choking down every last roasted almond.
“The project had such an amazing real-world impact,” he says. “Patients were now able to get their referral approved in a matter of minutes as opposed to days or weeks. In general, I’m deeply motivated by the end result, which for me is the positive people effect that comes from technology. This drives me to maximize my potential contribution, and motivates me to utilize my time as efficiently as possible.”
In the time since, Skild’s technical advisor has been fortunate enough to work for many other companies and projects that have also brought positive impacts to society. That said, if Denis wants to witness “the positive people effect” of his work, he no longer has to leave home to do it. He and his wife of ten years are the proud parents of a girl and boy. “Smart, funny, well-behaved (mostly), and humble” is how he describes them: “Their future well-being drives how I now see the world and gives me a profound purpose that didn’t exist before. I’d like nothing more than to be a positive influence and a role model to them, helping them become happy adults by doing good in the world.”
A committed C-suite technology vet. A loving, mindful husband and father. When, exactly, does Denis find time to unplug? “Dawn patrol,” he says, referring to early mornings at his regular Manhattan Beach surf spot. Riding waves at dusk, he’s able to disconnect . . . in order to connect. “I’ve come to appreciate the sense of Zen that surfing provides me,” he says. “With today’s fast-paced culture, we’re trapped into multitasking, mobile phones, and instant gratification. We forget how important it is to connect with ourselves and nature. Surfing allows me to be completely in the moment with myself and the water. The distractions of the world fade away.”