Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

Engineering + Design + Business

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Diverse Teams

March 30, 2021

Celebrating Diverse Collaboration

By Elizabeth Donaldson

The hallmark of the Integrated Innovation Institute experience is diverse collaboration. Our students come from all over the world to refine their expertise and to gain knowledge and experience in design, business, and engineering, and work on interdisciplinary, multi-cultural teams. One team, born out of the MS Software Management course Process & Product Management, reflected on the experience of diverse collaboration. 

"Our team includes two young software professionals with a mix of strong analytical skills and one experienced professional with a variety of product experiences. With this combination of experiences, we are not only able to leverage from our core competencies to comprehend the problem at hand, but also provide innovative solutions which would not have been possible if we were not working together," Shalini Jain (MSSM '21) says of her teammates Kevin Kim and Madhusmita Borah (MSSM '21). 

Jain explains that, when people of diverse backgrounds come together to solve a problem, they can tackle a problem holistically, each prompting a solution that another had not yet considered.

"Having a team of people with diverse backgrounds to collaborate and work together to reach a common goal has helped us improve and produce superior quality work. The process of sitting together to brainstorm different ways to approach a problem has continued to be our melting pot of innovative ideas and creativity which comes from our diverse experiences. Sharing different perspectives among the three of us has naturally enabled us to think out-of-the-box and make better quality decisions, leading to improved quality of work. And with a strict academic timeline, providing great, quick results would be far from being achievable without our group of diverse minds," Jain shares.

Jain, Kim, and Borah were able to create viable solutions in the classroom and deeply engage with course content, but importantly, they also learned a lot from one another.

"Diversity in backgrounds and experiences have created an ideal environment within our team where we can learn from others and achieve our team goals. As the famous saying goes - 'Walking among three people, I find my teacher among them. I choose that which is good in them and follow it, and that which is bad and change it.' Though we hear the importance of a diverse group of people in leading better yield, it’s through the collaboration of these pragmatic minds that help us to pursue our vision, and achieve our shared objectives. In our team, we experienced it first hand," Jain reflects.

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