What inspired us
In the workforce, 78% of employees see no diversity in leadership positions and only 1% of Fortune 500 companies have CEOs of color. In a recent study in 2021, roughly 49% of 500 workers reported some sort of favoritism in their work environment even though companies who boast diversity consistently report higher profits.
Working as part of a diverse group does not come naturally to a lot of people. Many tend to feel more comfortable interacting with people from a similar background or those who see things the same way.
We acknowledge that it’s more difficult to change the workforce due to constraints such as company culture, HR resources, etc.
What we built
So we created Blendo, a platform that creates diverse teams and helps instructors match people based on their qualities, traits, and skillsets to challenge existing beliefs. This creates higher-performing teams, helps students socialize outside of their comfort zone, and helps educators form student groups with diverse backgrounds and skillsets.
Through our website, not only will it boost diversity by matching people in (race, ethnicity, beliefs, personal background, etc.), groups will also be formed with consideration of skill, pushing people to meet new people and consider different stakeholders and new perspectives.
What it does
Advantage 1 of using Blendo – Minimize biases
(Compared to manually creating diverse groups based on an instructor’s judgment, the “1-2-3, 1-2-3” method and other online randomizers,)
- We automate the formation process using Machine Learning (Unsupervised Learning) to eliminate unconscious and implicit biases
- We use a machine learning model that seeks to be non-judgmental since it trains itself, finds people with similarities, and does its best to NOT pair them together.
Advantage 2 – Data Security
- We delete all personal data provided right after and no one will have access to them
- We insist on using a one-time form because identity and personal beliefs are fluid!
This website will help both students and professors by creating a cultural shift, as it promotes more open-mindedness within individuals, and possibly a higher-performing group and success rate.
According to Deborah D. Hazzard (clinical associate professor), the push for diverse teams is very critical because people who work in diverse teams do a better job considering multiple stakeholder perspectives and the use of broader lenses for solving problems. Not only do diverse teams have a better performance, it teaches students to discard stereotypes about other groups while letting them be able to socialize with others who are very different from them. Finding a common ground.
Going beyond school life, the push for an increasingly diverse pool of people reflects on employment and future jobs as well. A statement by Catherine Peyrols Wu (Lecturer at Nanyang Business School) illustrates how working in a diverse team improves a student’s employability. It helped them impress recruiters and obtain job offers. In fact, many ended up by international shipping companies where 90% of people they interact with are from another country. All while changing views, reducing anxiety, and building confidence.
Revenues of companies with diverse leadership also grow by 19%. Businesses that are open to inclusion have 120% higher chances to accomplish financial goals.
How we built our project:
We ideated (brainstormed as a group across 3 time zones), researched background information, created a 2-day roadmap, user flow chart, visual style guide, custom illustrations, animations, designed user interface, pitched writing, and lastly made the presentation on Figma.
We built the front-end, back-end, and database schema. We used the nanoid library to generate random 8 digit class codes.
GitHub Repo We used ReactJS for the front end and NodeJS and Express for the Backend. We used MongoDB for our database.
Challenges we faced:
Time zone, a first international hackathon for one of our teammates, scheduling, half the team are beginners, incorporating 3D animations and custom illustrations, learning how to condensing the write-ups.
Building a two-sided platform had a number of challenges. We spent a lot of time figuring out how we would safeguard student data and decided the best option would be to delete it after using it for team formation.
What we learned
We learned how to condense the write-ups, focusing more on the targeted points. We also learned how to better manage my time since there was a lot to complete in a small amount of time.
We learned to work in an Agile Workflow.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We built a functioning, test-able product for educators and students in 2 days completely from scratch! The graphics, UX, and even the API were built by our team.
Blendo: A team formation platform that creates diverse teams so that instructors can match people based on their qualities, traits, and skillsets to challenge existing beliefs, thereby creating higher-performing teams and preparing the youth of tomorrow.
What's next for Blendo
- Diversity report/analytics
- Anonymous feedback/evaluation form
- Account creation (authorization for both students and teachers)
- User base expansion via marketing campaigns
- Collaboration and partnership with other platforms and learning management systems like Canvas
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