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Design Thinking with ChatGPT – Application, possibilities and prompt examples

ChatGPT by OpenAI is a powerful tool for design thinkers and saves a lot of time in many phases of the innovation process. In the last few months, we in the verrocchio team have used and tested artificial intelligence like ChatGPT in many projects. In this article, I want to share these insights with you and answer the following questions:

  • How do I use ChatGPT meaningfully in the context of Design Thinking?
  • Where can the tool support you?
  • How do I formulate meaningful prompts?
  • What should you look for when using it?

First of all, an important insight: ChatGPT is a powerful tool that can support especially in research phases and with unstructured problems. Nevertheless, you should not use the tool blindly, but specifically in places where you can also check the result, for example. Very often, ChatGPT provides generic or even incorrect results, so your brain will still be needed in the future.

Let’s now take a closer look at the classic phases of Design Thinking and the appropriate ChatGPT prompts. If you want to go deeper into the Design Thinking process, I can recommend the article What is Design Thinking? The prompts can be entered into ChatGPT as described, put your project information in the square brackets [ ].

ChatGPT in the empathy phase

This is where ChatGPT has saved the most time for me. The tool can help gather information about the motivations, needs and expectations of your target audience. ChatGPT can quickly gather and aggregate information about target users, their preferences and pains from various sources to create a solid foundation for your project. In user interviews, the most important thing is to create open-ended, unbiased interview questions. This is where ChatGPT can provide valuable help in developing questions.

Examples of prompts:

  • “What questions should we ask in our surveys to learn more about customer preferences regarding [dein Produkt]?”
  • “Analyze data from customer interviews and identify key customer needs and concerns.”
  • “Create a persona for a [Produkt], the [Produktbeschreibung]”
  • “Create all relevant user profiles for [Produkt]”
  • “What is [Nutzerprofil] currently using to solve the problem?”

ChatGPT in the definition phase

Here it is important to analyze the collected data and identify the core problem to be solved. ChatGPT can process large amounts of data and detect patterns and trends, this is quite helpful in problem definition. The use of ChatGPT also makes sense for the subsequent formulation of questions.

Examples of prompts:

  • “Based on identified customer needs and concerns, formulate a concise problem statement for [dein Projekt]”
  • “Describe potential audiences and use cases for our newly developed [Produkt].”
  • “Describe what problems the [Produkt] should solve for [Nutzerprofil]?”
  • “Create a list of [Bedürfnisse] for [Produkt] according to [Kriterien]

ChatGPT in the brainstorming

This is where ChatGPT’s performance actually surprised me, as creativity still appears to be a trait where humans have an advantage over Artificial Intelligence (AI). On the other hand, a large part of creativity also consists of the recombination of many existing solutions and existing data. Here again lies the strength of AI.

Here are a few examples of methods for brainstorming where ChatGPT is helpful with matching example prompts. Click on the links if you want to learn more about the methods.

  • Brainstorm: “Give me ten innovative ideas for healthy ingredients in [dein Produkt]
  • SCAMPER: “How could we apply the SCAMPER method to improve our existing product [dein Produkt]? The product has the following features [die Eigenschaften deines Produktes]
  • Analogy method: “[Möglichst detaillierte Beschreibung deiner Situation] Please use the analogy method to solve it.”
Analogy method and ChatGPT
Response from ChatGPT with use of analogy method

ChatGPT during prototyping

When developing prototypes, the use of ChatGPT makes sense especially in the selection and analysis of prototyping concepts. In doing so, ChatGPT can further elaborate selected ideas and turn them into detailed concepts. Alternatively, it can analyze prototypes and provide feedback for improvement.

  • “Suggest different variations for our [dein Produkt], such as in taste, texture and packaging.”
  • “What methods should we use to conduct internal testing and gather feedback on our prototypes?”
ChatGPT used for Prototyping in Design Thinking
Test variants produced by ChatGPT for takeaway coffee products in our café example.

ChatGPT during testing

Want to create test plans or guides for conducting customer testing? This is where ChatGPT can do a lot of the work for you and ensure that customer feedback is collected systematically and effectively (yes sorry, the question “How do you like our product?” is really not the best). Once you have received the customer feedback, ChatGPT can help you analyze it while making recommendations for improvements and adjustments to the prototypes.

Examples of prompts:

  • “Create a test plan or guide for conducting customer testing with our candy bar prototypes.”
  • “Analyze customer feedback from testing and make recommendations for improvements or adjustments to prototypes.”


Using ChatGPT in our design thinking projects has saved a lot of time and resources in many places. The quality and speed of the results really amazed us in some cases. Nevertheless, it is important to be careful with the tool, especially in the current version. Our 3 most important findings at a glance:

  • Only rely on results that you can also judge from your expertise. Often we have received results that sound good and right, but on closer inspection are problematic or even wrong.
  • Everything stands and falls with the right prompts. The more detailed you describe the situation, the better the results of ChatGPT will be. You will get good results if you put ChatGPT into a specific role, e.g. “Act like a design thinker, you are a/an [Persona]
  • ChatGPT does not replace your thinking work. You can only achieve really good results if you go into the customer situation yourself for observation. This work cannot (and should not) be done by the AI.

We will soon be launching a live webinar on the topic of “Using AI in innovation projects”, where we will share our experiences and best practices. You want to receive an info when the date is fixed? Then feel free to register here.

Design Thinking with ChatGPT - Application, possibilities and prompt examples
Handwritten by Christian Buchholz