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Lessons from ChatGPT Design Sprint

By Shannon Bourke

Disruptors Co recently held a 2 day Design Sprint facilitator training program with our team (including Tracey Hamilton, Founder, Moveo Global and Dennis Spring, ECD and Founder, Giant Squid). 

Interestingly ChatGPT our new robot overload was chosen as the focus. If you haven’t heard of Chat GPT, it’s now the top tool for AI-assisted design. Developed by OpenAI, Chat GPT got to a million users in only five days! Chat GPT (short for Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is a natural language processing (NLP) model trained on a large dataset of human conversation. It can generate human-like responses to user input in various contexts and be integrated into chatbot or voice assistant systems to improve the user experience of the text. It can also change how you design.

The Design Sprint is one of the core methodologies used at Disruptors Co. It is a unique five day hands-on process for validating ideas and solving big challenges through prototyping and testing with the aim of reducing the risk when bringing a new product, service or a feature to the market. The condensed 2 day facilitator version was unique as it gave us a peek behind the curtain of how this well oiled workshop runs so smoothly – All the nuts and bolts involved in running a successful Design Sprint. We heard stories from the “coalface” – what works, what doesn’t and how to avoid traps. It was designed for Innovation managers, Product managers, Executive at large companies and government agencies, Startup founders, UX/UI designers, Development leads and anyone who wants a proven method to solve big problems and test out new ideas – fast!

I found this Design Sprint masterclass to be a great introduction to the core concepts and methodologies.

Here are 6 key lessons learned:

  1. Tick-tock your time starts now! The facilitator plays a very important role as time keeper. The design sprint can feel like a messy creative process, requiring participants to think outside the box and get past their normal comfort zones. By keeping everyone conscious of the set times, it provides a sense of structure and stability in this otherwise chaotic environment. It also ensures that in the jam packed workshop, everything is sticking to schedule.
  2. Fail fast, Succeed sooner. Many people think failing is a bad thing. We are scared to make mistakes. But within the design sprint, failing is to be iterative. We learn fast and fail fast. Fail fast is a philosophy that values extensive testing and incremental development to determine whether an idea has any merit. We cut our losses by failing quickly to reveal what isn’t working and pivoting to the next potential solution. This method can save a team months of design, engineering and development costs.
  3. Post-its and Pens, name a better duo. You will need to be fully stocked on post-it notes to quickly jot down ideas and map them on the wall. You don’t require expensive tools and materials to create an array of low fidelity approaches and prototypes. We used simple pens, paper, markers and post-its to develop storyboards, sketches and build customer journeys.
  4. Find the hot spots! The entire design sprint process is user-centred and co-designed. Each stage of the sprint asks for feedback and validation to build consensus. One technique used to gain clear visibility and alignment from everyone was “heat mapping”. In this exercise, each team member is given three star stickers (you could also use pens for this!) to assign to the parts of sketches that they find interesting. This is to be done in silence. Afterwards you can see where the group’s interest aligns and trust that all perspectives are being considered.
  5. Make the space for creativity. Structure is not the enemy of creativity! By meticulously setting aside this time to run a design sprint and to be creative it ensures that people are not distorted by small arbitrary problems that arise and can focus on the big problems to be solved. The design sprint process is very equitable, no matter your role in the organisation whether you are a designer, manager or team leader. The sometimes siloed structure in organisations is broken allowing for cross-team collaboration. Everybody can create and design things.
  6. ChatGPT leads the way. It was particularly interesting to put ChatGPT through the design sprint process. It opened our eyes to the true vast array of ways that ChatGPT can and will be harnessed in the future, in both business and the creative arts, as the technology advances and as our collective ability to use it most efficiently expands. ChatGPT feels to have really sped up the pace of change in the workplace. Robert Cannon, Internet Law and Policy Expert believes, “Everything that can be automated will be automated” and a report published by Dell Technologies suggested that 85% Of Jobs That Will Exist In 2030 Haven’t Been Invented Yet. I’m very curious to see which roles ChatGPT takes over (hopefully to make our lives easier!) and the new jobs that arrive for us humans.

Finding ways to unlock the potential of ChatGPT for Disruptors Co purposes was at the forefront of our discussion, and while many of those goals required deeper research and testing, two of the most immediate ways to optimise its output included: 

  • Providing specific prompts; whether it’s asking for more creative content or reducing the “salesy” tone, the trick is to teach the platform exactly what type of response you want.
  • Automating some of the more mundane tasks within our company, such as rephrasing article highlights for social media sharing. This can be accomplished through modifying and copying ChatGPT’s existing scripts to AirTable.

While we collectively remain on the fence about the quality of writing and believe a human touch is often necessary (coming from a team of ‘communicators’, perhaps this is a given), it certainly gives us the opportunity to focus on more intricate tasks, like strategy development. Regardless of the current limitations of ChatGPT, its potential is still exciting and at the very least, helps alleviate those pesky moments of writer’s block.

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