Our Participation on BIAS project, hosted by Leiden University – Proudly funded by EU. 

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, companies are continually seeking innovative ways to gain a competitive edge. One of the most profound strategies for achieving this is embracing diversity as a core value within the workplace. While diversity encompasses various dimensions, including race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, and more, its importance extends far beyond mere checkboxes on a HR form. It is, in fact, a powerful catalyst for fostering creativity, driving innovation, and achieving long-term success. Our Resource Manager, Naomi, stumbled upon a project that truly piqued her interest: the exploration of how Artificial Intelligence can be used to support Human Resources and mitigate bias at work.

In essence, bias refers to the predisposition or unfair prejudice towards a particular individual or group. One of the manager’s fundamental principles is the eradication of bias and the cultivation of a diverse and inclusive atmosphere. Consequently, when the initial project surfaced a few months ago, Naomi took it upon herself to lead the charge. The workshop proved to be an engaging and interactive experience, granting Naomi a platform to share her insights and perspective. When I had a conversation with her a few days ago she said: “Although the people at the workshop thanked me about my contribution, I would say that I gain way more than what I offered, and that is why I am doing it”. 

Some weeks ago, we participated on the second phase of our project, and this time, it witnessed greater involvement from our team, as Naomi suggested that apart from her, I (D&I enthusiast!), and Danylo (our tech genius) would also participate. The atmosphere exuded a warm and secure ambiance, driven by our shared purpose – the mitigation of bias. As we dived into the multifaceted realms of bias within the recruitment process, we collectively crafted strategies and solutions that will wield substantial influence in shaping the future landscape of AI-driven bias detection and mitigation systems. We wrote down about the features we believe would be helpful for Human Resource’s teams. The room brimmed with collaborative energy, a tangible manifestation of our collective commitment, and it’s truly heartwarming to acknowledge that the fruits of these endeavors will directly propel the BIAS Project’s objectives forward. 

As we departed from that enlightening workshop, we couldn’t help but feel enriched with newfound knowledge, intriguing theories, and invaluable insights. Yet, if I were to choose the true essence of our experience, it would, undoubtedly, be the exchange of ideas from our diverse array of participants. This vibrant assembly included individuals with disabilities, those from different sexual orientations and genders, each contributing their unique perspectives. Listening to their thoughts was a profound learning experience, one that holds the potential to propel our growth and, in turn, expand Octagon’s embrace, making it even more inclusive for everyone. 

Author: Nicolas Papanicolaou