How to Use Artificial Intelligence to Test Business Ideas

Endless opportunities and innovation possibilities exist for companies to take on. However, most companies have only so many resources to use, so the trick is identifying the ideas with the most potential. How can companies decipher ideas and find the best ones? An up-and-coming technology, artificial intelligence, can help with this.

In a workshop entitled “Testing Ideas with AI,” Taylor Bench illustrated how artificial intelligence and data can discover and validate ideas. The workshop was offers as part Lassonde for Life, a lifelong program created to support entrepreneurs, offered this workshop for free for University of Utah graduates.

Bench shared the goals of using artificial intelligence and a six-step framework for detecting great ideas. In his discussion, he answered the question, “How do you take an idea you have and test it?” Bench narrowed in on the discovery phase, highlighting the benefits of using artificial intelligence to funnel through ranging projects, deals, and opportunities. The process starts with inputting data using ChatGPT, GoZigZag, and other databases. The structure ends with creating deliverables and testing ideas in the real world.

A University of Utah alum, Bench has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s in business administration. In the past, he has directed teams for what is now called the Technology Licensing Office at the University of Utah. He currently works as a managing director at Summit Venture Studio.

Bench described Summit Venture Studio as a hybrid between a startup, fund, and accelerator. The organization advances company innovation using data and artificial intelligence and breaks the process into three stages — discover, develop, and deploy. Technology is first used to research and test ideas. The second step is to form new ideas, products, and services for a business. Finally, new ideas get implemented into a company’s process.

Here are Benches tips for using artificial intelligence:

Goal of using artificial intelligence

The goal of using artificial intelligence is to input data and efficiently generate a consistent list of ideas and opportunities. The hope is that prompts will lead to actionable outcomes that can be applied to an organization’s framework.

Creating good inputs

Asking artificial intelligence the right questions is essential to discovering the information you want to know. The primary input shared with an artificial intelligence tool should document an idea, providing background around the topic. Questions asked should center around nine investment risk factors: market, technical, financial, exit, execution, regulatory, inventor, value, and customer risk.

Utilizing ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a popular artificial intelligence tool that responds to questions and messages. Typing a question into the platform generates responses compiled from all over the web. ChatGPT can create and assess new ideas and even analyze entire conversations. The trick to optimizing this tool is asking the right questions — Bench recommended making questions specific and organized around the investment-risk factors mentioned above. Using spreadsheets that lay out investment risk factors, definitions, and prompts for analysts can be helpful. Be specific with inputs and quantify how ChatGPT should access possible opportunities. The platform can also provide insights into risks, generate customer interview questions, and design social media posts.

Validate ideas with GoZigZag

GoZigZag is a tool used to formulate and confirm ideas. After inputting a startup idea, the service generates outputs about competitors and hypotheses. It provides a quick draft and a starting point of potential concepts to validate and explore. The technology also can formulate questions to ask in customer interviews and create mock landing pages. Additionally, it can generate branding ideas, potential names, mission statements, and elevator pitches. Bench recommended using this as a quick check to explore a company’s potential and opportunities. It saves time and provides a starting point for ideas and innovations to grow.

Other databases

One goal of using artificial intelligence to generate ideas is to gather a broad range of data. Business analysis databases provided by the University of Utah Marriott Library are another platform that students can tap into. These databases can offer new information and possibilities a company can work with. Bench highlighted how productive utilizing technology and databases is. He said this method “takes hours and hours of typical analyst time down to a few hours.” While a student analyst could spend up to 40 hours completing research work, using artificial intelligence and technology can lower the time to just an hour. Using modern technology, new and worthwhile opportunities can be identified.

Forming deliverables

Bench suggested creating a pitch deck for opportunities as quickly as possible. Doing so helps identify what is known and what other information is needed. Investors want to see the best possibilities and the underlying risk factors behind them. Artificial intelligence can create pitch deck templates and can help organize obtained data. Through this process, analysts can find gaps in deliverables and collect information to make them stronger.

Getting ideas out of the office

Once artificial intelligence has identified the optimal business opportunities, it’s time to engage in conversations with individuals in the real world. In the final stage, Summit Venture Studio uses the common approach of “getting out of the office,” conducting interviews and talking to people in a company’s specific industry the focus. This last step helps with concept validation, streamlines the initial idea, and listens to real-world feedback. Ultimately, this final action helps to understand if AI-generated ideas reign true and can be applicable in the real world.

About the Author:

Abigail Cheney Originally from Connecticut, Abigail Cheney came to the University of Utah for their esteemed entrepreneurship and marketing programs. She is passionate about startups and entrepreneurial exploration. Her enthusiasm aligns with writing and additional artistic endeavors. Connect on LinkedIn.

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