Discovering Where ChatGPT Can Create Value for Your Company

When OpenAI unveiled its revolutionary creation, ChatGPT, back in November, the response was nothing short of astonishing. Within a mere four days, it amassed a user base of one million, skyrocketing to a staggering 100 million users in just two months. This rapid achievement outpaced other tech giants by a remarkable 75%. ChatGPT’s growth has been relentless, transforming from a simple AI chatbot that merely responded to user prompts into a multifaceted powerhouse capable of data analysis and image interpretation. Consequently, individuals ranging from high school students to top-level executives are scrambling to familiarise themselves with ChatGPT, eager to harness its potential for innovation and productivity.

While ChatGPT’s speed, scale, and impact may be unparalleled, the underlying phenomenon of emerging technologies reshaping entire industries and societies is not novel. However, leveraging the power of such technologies necessitates a fresh approach. Unlike usual innovation methods like design thinking, ChatGPT poses a fundamentally different challenge. It lacks clear-cut problems to solve, user pain points to address, or predefined key performance indicators (KPIs) to meet. ChatGPT seemingly can tackle problems across various industries, domains, and contexts. Successfully utilising it demands a distinct skill set: emergent thinking, which involves generating innovative ideas without a complete understanding of the problem at hand.

Recently, our research, led by Johnathan and Jennifer, shed light on the primary thought process behind this innovative style. It starts with comprehending the core functions of technology and exploring how those functions can be applied to problem-solving across different domains. Emergent thinking also encompasses evaluating ideas without a clear understanding of success criteria, improvising with minimal preparation, and being flexible with project outcomes.

These activities often counter conventional business practices prioritising efficiency and reliability. They may even challenge the fundamental tenets of design thinking, which emphasise the identification of user problems before generating potential solutions. However, these unconventional approaches become critical when it comes to leveraging ChatGPT or any other emerging technology for innovation.

Numerous companies have already integrated ChatGPT into their products, processes, and services. By analyzing this flourishing landscape of innovation, they have identified three emergent-thinking pathways for leaders seeking to implement ChatGPT successfully while avoiding potential pitfalls.

Pathway 1: Exploiting a Current Value Proposition

The first pathway involves leveraging ChatGPT to further enhance an existing value proposition offered by a company. For example, take Instacart, which has achieved $2.5 billion in annual revenue by focusing on the core value proposition of fast, reliable, and affordable grocery delivery. Recently, they introduced a ChatGPT plugin aimed at augmenting this value proposition by streamlining the online grocery ordering process. With this plugin, customers can receive meal recommendations, and upon finding a suitable option, ChatGPT will automatically create a new Instacart order by adding all the necessary ingredients.

To pursue this pathway, it is crucial to employ ChatGPT without targeting specific customer problems initially. Although this thought process contradicts conventional business training, which emphasizes the strategic identification of customer problems before investing time in developing solutions, it opens doors to recognising ChatGPT’s potential for novel and valuable applications. Approach it with an open mind, engaging deeply with the tool to grasp its core functions. As you develop this understanding, your natural human cognition will kick in, establishing connections with any relevant problems you may be aware of.

For instance, one of ChatGPT’s core functions is the interpretation and generation of natural language text, enabling human-like responses to a wide array of questions, prompts, and requests. Companies can harness this function to enhance existing features that involve text-based interactions with customers. The notion, a product-management tool, now offers immediate access to ChatGPT by simply tapping the spacebar, activating an AI response that can be seamlessly integrated into existing tasks and workflows. As ChatGPT’s functionalities continue to expand, new possibilities will emerge for enhancing value propositions across diverse companies and contexts.

Pathway 2: Expanding the Value Proposition

The second pathway entails using ChatGPT to expand a company’s value proposition by addressing new customer problems that align with its existing offerings. Consider Khan Academy, founded in 2006 with the mission of providing free, world-class education to all students. With nearly 20 million monthly users, Khan Academy primarily offers concise online videos that feature hand-written text filling a blank canvas. Recently, they incorporated ChatGPT into their platform, introducing a personalised AI tutor named Khanmigo. This tool not only guides students through online videos and practice questions more effectively but also assists teachers in explaining teaching methods and designing lesson plans.

To follow this pathway, start by clearly defining your perspective and learning how to alter it. For emerging thinking, this involves breaking down a value proposition into three core elements:

  1. The goals customers aim to achieve.
  2. The context in which customers pursue those goals.
  3. The specific target demographic of the customers.

Once defined, evaluate how ChatGPT’s core functions (as explored in Pathway 1) can We get contribution from it to expanding each element in novel directions. For instance, Khan Academy initially focused on helping K-12 students learn topics at their own pace, entirely online. By utilising ChatGPT, they broadened the students’ goals by facilitating online learning through self-guided practice or an AI tutor. They also extended the target demographic to include teachers, enabling them to achieve new goals previously unattainable.

This two-step process of definition and expansion complements design thinking, which encourages exploring multiple solutions before converging on one to implement. However, with emerging thinking, brainstorming techniques are applied to the problem rather than the solution.

Throughout this process, maintaining an open mind is vital, avoiding the hasty selection of a problem, which can be particularly challenging in uncertain conditions. ChatGPT has placed an unprecedented level of pressure on companies to act swiftly, as failure to do so may have dramatic consequences for their future survival. However, research indicates that it is possible to withstand these pressures and explore a broader range of innovative options. Collaborate with trusted partners to navigate ambiguity more effectively and take calculated risks together.

Pathway 3: Exploring a New Value Proposition

The pathway step involves employing ChatGPT to explore an entirely new plan of action that customers might not even know what they need yet. While this may seem contrary to traditional methods of innovation, it aligns with the advice often given for creating breakthroughs. when asked about Apple’s market research for the iMac’s development, Steve Jobs famously replied, “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” OpenAI fully embraced this wisdom when they released ChatGPT to the public, discovering countless unforeseen ways to employ it across various contexts to achieve new goals. This pathway epitomizes the purest form of emergent thinking, characterised by high uncertainty and demanding cautious pursuit.

The main challenge lies in selecting a single problem to focus on from the myriad of possibilities identified during brainstorming sessions involving different goals, contexts, and target demographics (refer to Pathway 2). When organizations possess relatively clearer value propositions, such as enhancing online ordering speed for Instacart or improving online education quality for Khan Academy, it becomes easier to filter out far-fetched problems that may not reflect valuable customer needs. However, when customer needs are still emerging alongside the technology, agreeing on a shared direction becomes arduous for teams. This challenge intensifies when attempting to incorporate diverse perspectives, which are fundamental to innovation, as team members may unintentionally pull the project in conflicting directions.

To overcome these challenges, identify a clear and coherent analogy that encapsulates the core value proposition. For example, Tome, a startup, employs ChatGPT to assist customers in creating compelling presentations from online documents, videos, and digital content. Instead of emphasizing specific benefits, they describe their product as an “AI storytelling partner.” This simple concept allows for the integration of various features into a cohesive product experience, facilitating developers’ and customers’ understanding of its value. By creating an analogy for your product, you can avoid wasting resources on features that may not support the core value proposition while helping customers develop a clear mental model of the various features and their utility.

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