Working over the summer as interns, the most difficult aspect of lunch and dinner was deciding where to go for food, especially with so many options available and so many places to discover. However, the underlying problem wasn't as simple as that.
Joining a new company, we all have experienced the challenge of finding friends among coworkers. For us, we didn't know who to reach out to, or even how to reach out to them to plan a get together. Pat Wadors, the SVP of Global Talent Organization at LinkedIn, has tied together the lack of diversity in the tech industry with the struggle of fitting in and finding belonging, which minorities already face based on their race, gender, culture, history or background.
That is what we tried to solve today. With Cisco being the world leader in networking equipment, we believe that we can leverage this technology to create a healthy social network as well.
What it does
FoodWagon allows people to create wagons where other coworkers can come join along for a meal. The simplicity of this chat bot is that you don't have to already know people to join them. Not only that, but because everyone has different tastes on a day-to-day basis, employees will be broadening their network by socializing with a diverse crowd every day.
By taking away the entry-barrier of walking up to a group or emailing someone to schedule a lunch, employees will be able to easily look through all the upcoming plans and pick one to join!
No more sorting through hundreds of messages in the #food channel either. Not sure where to go? Grab a random restaurant from the suggestions!
As a scalable solution, it gives smaller companies the power to strengthen their community and larger companies to discover even more diversity.
How we built it
Using the Sparkbot framework 'flint', we modified it and created our own db on a Node.js server to save these wagons and allow users to browse through them.
Challenges we ran into
Deploying the bot, hosting the webhook, and going through the API were definitely the most difficult parts of our hack.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
This is the first time we've been able to make a functional and working hack!
What we learned
What's next for FoodWagon
Statistics and frequency data for HR
Implementing notifications and reminders
Subscription based lunch weeks (Themed)