Born in India, Ashish Gadnis moved to Minnesota in the 90’s where he has since built a successful consulting firm speaking truth to bureaucracy (Forward Hindsight), recently launched a personal electronic medical portal for consumers (Koozala) and (in his spare time) travels the globe working to end world hunger. Just another day’s work for this radical CEO who clearly understands the connection between business and social progress.
Ashish Gadnis Facts:
Born in India, moved to Minnesota in 1990s. Attended college in Bombay and received MBA from Carlson.
- Co founder and CEO of Forward Hindsight (management consulting firm) and founding CEO of Koozala.
- Has history with TIES and Fourth Generation Inc., which he left in 2004 to create Forward Hindsight, offering aggressive enterprise tech consulting to clients like Best Buy, Caribou Coffee and AirTran.
- Started Koozala in 2009 to let consumers have an easy way to manage and access their personal medical records. Currently in use, with the University of Minnesota as an initial enterprise partner.
- He has an express “no ego” philosophy. If you hire Ashish, expect him to listen carefully and then tell you what needs to change in your organization in unvarnished terms (even if it means firing the CEO).
- Nominated and selected as one of a few hundred Young Global Leaders for the World Economic Forum in 2009 (the gathering in Davos, Switzerland attended by Bono, Bill Clinton and others).
- Has a stated goal of retiring by age 45 so he can focus exclusively on solving world hunger and sustainable business in emerging markets.
- Mentors ethnic entrepreneurs as a volunteer with the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA).
- Author of workbook Sustainable Disruption, which shows how the use of sustainable disruption can bring focus into an organization.
Ashish Gadnis Quotes:
- “There are so many smart people [in Minnesota] buried in large corporations.”
- 3 Things that will make MN more innovation-friendly are: (a) “CEO’s here need to get balls to take risks”; (b) “get the local investment money in motion”; (c) “try incubators and innovation zones” to get new businesses started.
- “My reputation is pretty polarizing. 50% of the people hate my guts.” “One time a CEO introduced me to a group and said I was hired to be an asshole. I think that’s a compliment.”
- Minnesota has a “passive, lukewarm business environment” dominated by “an old boys’ network,” but also has “a lot of cool people who can build cool companies” and a “very strong education baseline that absolutely needs to be highlighted.”
- “Within the next decade, Minnesota could be like Silicon Valley, but it will take a mix of people from outside and inside Minnesota [to make it happen].”
Who would you consider to be a radical Minnesota tech CEO and why? Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org