Artificial intelligence

How To Use AI To Brainstorm A Billion-Dollar Business Idea

Illustration of AI Brain, zeros and ones, Human reader.

By Dan Kraemer

Society is steeped in the mythology of the lightbulb moment. The lone creative genius. The sketch on the back of a cocktail napkin. But the truth is most great business ideas are the result of many brainstorms, sprints, prototypes and pivots — a wiggly line instead of a single ah-ha experience.

As any entrepreneur can attest, summoning the next category-creating business or blockbuster product is hard.

Dan Kraemer
Dan Kraemer

But now the human brain has a brainstorming partner: generative AI. Could AI dream up the next billion-dollar business idea? As someone who has worked with brands such as Nike, United Airlines and FedEx for more than 20 years to help them create new products from scratch, I believe AI can and will invent the next Airbnb.

As a professor, I teach MBA students how to use multistep frameworks to kickstart the product ideation, design and prototyping process. Humans will never stop coming up with great ideas, yet AI can massively augment that creativity. At IA Collaborative, we are already using AI to conceive future businesses and to make those ideas more likely to become big hits.

As a founder, how can you embrace AI to improve the creative process? How can you combine  human insights and specific business objectives with AI to grow and innovate?

Using AI for product ideation

Product ideation is the best place to start. When you only have vague initial ideas, generative AI can really help to crystalize them. (There are of course many generative AI tools, some as general as ChatGPT, and others more specialized by industry or application.)

Working with large brands, we’ve already successfully used prompt engineering to brainstorm better and faster. For example: “Here is a problem we want to solve. Imagine 50 different ways to solve it based on X and Y market realities in X, Y, and Z countries among the Y-specific user segments. Use reliable behavioral, economic and market research.”

As the brainstorming progresses, you can add more specific prompts and feed the GenAI tool your own proprietary data (provided it’s a safe, closed system, of course.)

We have had success adding quantitative and qualitative inputs on user behaviors, societal trends, consumer preferences, market modeling and more. We also layer in our own ideation and prototyping frameworks, and any consulting firm or company could do the same with their own innovation models. Using AI, we can start a brainstorm session with 40 succinct product ideas that include the business model, future value, early market indicators of success, and other metrics.

Once the team has settled on a few top ideas, generative AI could then help conduct due-diligence: competitive analysis, market forecasting, labor market statistics and financial modeling, for example. By this point in the process, the innovation team can begin to predict the chance of success for the product idea and determine potential blindspots.

Clearly, it’s early days for AI brainstorming, but we are already seeing many specialized GenAI apps and platforms for industries such as law, medicine and education that could be central to the product ideation process.

Challenges remain, including how to protect sensitive data and how to assign IP to ideas generated by a machine, but those challenges will soon get solved. For founders looking for the next great business idea, GenAI could be the spark.

Dan Kraemer is a founder, thought leader, educator and international speaker on the convergence of design and business strategy. As co-CEO and co-founder of IA Collaborative, he combines a generative design lens with analytical business strategy to help companies such as Airbnb, Allstate, Audi, FedEx, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Philips, Samsung and Sonos create growth strategies, develop innovation and build new businesses.

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Illustration: Dom Guzman

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