Dr. Julia Oberhofer
Artificial intelligence and human creativity are getting closer and closer in today’s world. This results in both exciting opportunities and new challenges. With our new workshop format “AI & Design Thinking – The Creative Alliance” we offer the opportunity to dive deeper into this intersection and explore how AI and Design Thinking can work together and take innovation work to the next level. We interviewed our workshop leader and Design Thinking expert Samuel Tschepe about this.
Samuel Tschepe: The interplay excites me a lot, both areas complement each other in a really amazing way. While design thinking draws its power from empathy and deep-rooted human creativity, AI comes into play, bringing unparalleled precision, efficiency, and a whole new range of perspectives. Combined, this opens up enormous potential for overcoming existing barriers and boundaries in innovation work.
One particularly salient aspect is the expansion of our human capabilities through AI. On both an individual and organizational level, design thinking regularly pushes us to the limits of what we can achieve. I, for example, have trouble developing advanced prototypes because my traditional “design” skills are pretty basic. This is where AI tools like Uizard, Midjourney/Ideogram or Canva come into play. With its help, I can create impressive wireframes and graphics from text or simple sketches – and at breathtaking speed.
In organizations, a similar pattern emerges: specialized competencies are often lacking in the team or, in general, in the organization typical resources such as time and money to deepen an idea. This leads to the need for external support, for example. This can lead to delays, handoffs can be problematic, the project loses momentum, and there can be disappointment within the team. In many cases, you risk the project stumbling before it even gets off the ground. Instead, being able to experiment relatively easily and quickly with ideas as broadly as possible increases the likelihood of their implementation.
With KI, we have a flexible, versatile and always available sparring partner at our side, so to speak. This “alliance” enables us to think and act further, deeper and more comprehensively. We can broaden our perspectives, AI can support our divergent thinking, build a “knowledge pool”. Or specifically challenge ourselves, for example, to become aware of possible biases and to stimulate important discussions in the team. And, specifically related to the question, can we create potential future scenarios with AI. It allows us to play out different scenarios and simulate the impact of decisions. So in partnership with AI, we can make more informed and strategically broader decisions to make projects more successful.
Absolutely. Similar to the ever-increasing shift to virtual collaboration, we need to carefully consider when and where technology offers real value. It must not be used just for the sake of it. With regard to AI, I see two main challenges here: First, information overload: The wealth of information provided by AI can easily overwhelm us. Our human capacity to process data has limits, especially when it comes at us at breakneck speed and in large volumes. There is a risk that we overlook valuable insights or act on them too late. This can not only slow down the innovation process, but also negatively impact team dynamics. Second, empathy deficit: There is a risk that the use of AI will cause the empathic component in the design thinking process to take a back seat. AI models are incredibly powerful, but they cannot capture human emotions and nuances to the extent that we do. If we rely too much on AI, we risk neglecting the human perspective in the form of empathy and intentionality.
So a key question is how best to deal with AI-generated output. I don’t think there is a perfect answer (yet). But what we are trying out, for example, is the selective use of techniques from improvisational theater, prototyping, and ethnography to empathically charge the AI-generated output and better integrate it with human thinking and learning.
Finally, of course, another often overlooked aspect must be addressed, namely sustainability. Current AI models still consume enormous amounts of energy, at least for now. For this reason alone, we must carefully consider and weigh the use of AI.
Yes, I am very much looking forward to it! The workshop will address many of the aspects addressed, always focusing on trying out and experiencing as well as reflection and transfer.
The workshop is divided into three parts. The first part is about the integration of AI into the Design-Thinking.process: Here the participants experience the Design-Thinking process hand in hand with ChatGPT as a “creative partner”. This interactive phase allows participants to explore the various possible applications of AI in design thinking and gather diverse inspiration.
The second part is dedicated to the topic of optimizing AI communication. Here we focus on prompt engineering and the efficient use of ChatGPT in the context of design thinking. The maxim “garbage in, garbage out” is important here. So, how can we frame our prompts to get relevant and valuable responses? In addition, we are experimenting with advanced features like “Advanced Data Analysis” and selected plugins.
Finally, the third part is dedicated to the possibilities of using AI design tools. Especially for people without classical design skills, different options will be explored here to generate digital and visual prototypes relatively fast and in high quality. What is already possible here has impressed me very much and also helps me personally a lot to become a better designer, especially in the solution space.
I am very excited, I think the topic has immense potential. If you look alone at what has happened in the AI world in the last year. Every week, a multitude of new tools come onto the market. It is now urgent time to think about the sensible use of these tools!
Thank you very much for the interview, Samuel Tschepe!