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Think Piece – When will your next co-worker be an AI-bot?


In the near future, you might have AI or an AI-bot as part of your team. If your organization puts a bot on your team, you won’t have to worry about them mooching your break room snacks, but they might also suck up more “atta bots” from the boss. Nobody can work harder or faster than a bot. But your emotional intelligence is still an advantage. (Image: AI generated afterwork party with robots.) That’s what our totally unscientific test suggested.

We did some light experimentation with ChatGPT, recently, in the arena of innovation. First, we wanted to see if our bot, ChatGPT, was more of a Pioneer or a Builder (using our ISPI terms).

Pretending we were a Big Three automaker, we asked our hypothetical new hire, “Pete,” to “Imagine innovative ways to make an onboard coffee maker for automobiles.” Great idea, right?

Pete wasted no time with 13 rapid-fire starting points. The first two were nice and practical:

1. Compact Design: The coffee maker should be designed to fit seamlessly into the car's interior, perhaps in the center console or between the front seats. It should be compact to maximize space and not obstruct the driver's view or access to essential controls.

2. Power Source: The coffee maker could be designed to run on the car's electrical system, similar to how car chargers and accessories work. It should be energy-efficient to avoid draining the car's battery excessively.

Then on 7, Pete started playing the adult in the room with cautious advisements:

7. Safety Features: Implement safety features like automatic shutoff

when the car is in motion or when the coffee is ready. Ensure that the coffee

maker doesn't compromise the car's safety systems.

Yeah, sure, of course. Although, why couldn’t I brew coffee while flying down I-40 through Oklahoma?


Then Pete rebounded with this:


8. Quick Brewing: Optimize the brewing process for speed, aiming for a brewing time that matches the time it takes to order and receive coffee at a drive-thru.


What’s not to like about that? Atta-bot!

Still, if we had to give Pete an ISPI designation, they were sounding a lot more like a Builder or Connector than a Pioneer, offering up a litany of Mr. Spock-like pronouncements and practical boundaries. Although, Spock might not have come up with beating the drive-thru.


Maybe ChatGPT can achieve outside-of-the-box imagination. That needs work. But then we realized Pete’s not really about being a Builder or a Pioneer if you bring them into your innovation team. They’re about presenting starting points for evolution, iterations, and revolution in innovation. So, we thought you might want to create a new unofficial ISPI designation. Maybe call Pete: The Icebreaker. Pete is great breaking the ice: offering up a baseline of suggestions, perfect for evolutionary iterations. But also, stimulating some what-if imaginings that only us humans are up to, for now anyway.

We then tried to see if Pete could complete the ISPI survey questions. We started by asking: Are you at your best, when executing projects quickly, even before a path is clear?


Pete came back with:

I don't have personal preferences or capabilities because I am a computer program designed to provide information and assistance based on the input I receive. My responses are generated based on patterns and information in the data I was trained on, and I don't have the ability to execute projects or make decisions. My goal is to provide helpful information and guidance to the best of my knowledge and abilities based on the questions and statements you provide. If you have any questions or need assistance with a specific project or topic, please feel free to ask, and I'll do my best to assist you.

Pete gets points for humility, but they confirm that this new ISPI designation of Icebreaker may be the best Pete can be, and they’re pretty sharp in that role. For example, Lake Meade is getting dangerously low on water. So, we asked: How would you solve the water crisis in Lake Meade?

Again, the response was not revolutionary – nothing a group of smart people couldn’t match. But in a couple of seconds we got 12 very sound starting points. That might take an hour with a conference room of caffeinated humanoids and a white board. (You can download Pete’s full Lake Meade suggestions here.) For now, from our perspective, ChatGPT is a powerful tool for getting started on innovation and for drilling down on points along the way. We still haven’t seen very Pioneering behavior, but maybe your organization will. If you do, tell us about it. Reach out to Andrew Harrison.

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