Factry: Inviting ChatGPT to a Design Sprint

ArticleDesign Thinking

The Client Company

For the second time in a few months, the Factry is putting what it teaches into practice and using its innovative methods to take the School of Creative Science to the next level of its development.

The Issue

Over the past few years, Factry’s à la carte workshops, specialized programs and customized pathways have multiplied. These new programs are currently pushing it to develop a whole range of multimedia content. How can we meet the new technical needs that this brings about while significantly enhancing the user experience? The answer is clear: the Factry is ready for a website redesign.

The perfect conditions were in place to reaffirm Factry’s position as a leader in its field: in parallel with the website redesign, the organization was also undergoing a major rebranding.

Before starting the design of the new site, the organization wanted to make sure it didn’t miss this unique opportunity to innovate. They wanted to design a product that would clearly meet the needs of their various clienteles and present a clear, precise and inspiring brief to the digital development company hired for the project.

In addition, since the website affects the entire Factry offering, it will be necessary to unite the various internal teams around a common vision centered on the needs of the clientele.

The Proposal

Given the tight schedule-we hope to have a new site up and running by fall 2023-the team opted for a four-week design sprint, from mid-March to mid-April. The objective is to create a prototype with a high desirability rate among the target clientele.

But the Factry decided to add a very unusual element to the equation: Cédric Martineau, innovation practice leader at the Factry and consultant at Carverinno Conseil, proposed to invite ChatGPT to participate in the process. Unexpectedly, the launch of ChatGPT-4 the day before the startup allows the team to use the most powerful version of the tool (the freely available version remains ChatGPT-3.5, and the Factry has seen a big difference in the quality of content produced).

“I was so excited when I learned about this!” recalls Francis Beaumont-Deslauriers, digital marketing and communications analyst at Factry. The fact that we were involving concrete technological innovation in our ways of doing things was right in line with what we advocate.”

“Plus, we were among the first in the world to try it in a particular design sprint,” agrees Marie-Eve Chaumont, senior director, strategy and business development.

We integrated it as a participant, adding certain ethical guidelines,” says Cédric Martineau, who acted as facilitator for the design sprint. For example, he didn’t have the right to vote at decisive moments, and he was operated by someone who cared about the success of the project.” The team was also careful to anonymize some of the inputs into the software, which, for now, raises substantial privacy issues: ChatGPT can reuse information received at any time, and with anyone, regardless of intellectual property.

The idea is to experiment with this new tool with immense potential: what added value can it bring to the already well-oiled design sprint process? What can the team discover by inviting a non-human intelligence to the discussion table? There is nothing better than testing the tool yourself before integrating it into training sessions and workshops for your clients…

Jake Knapp

The illustration shows the usual progression of a design sprint. From the 2016 book Sprint by Jake Knapp.

The Work

After some discussion during the scoping phase, the Factry quickly determines that the sprint should focus on one of its target audiences in particular: business managers and team leaders.

In general, the highly concentrated format of design sprints forces participants to rigorously select the part of their project that they feel is the priority to address. The Factry chose this target audience because it is normally the most difficult to reach and survey. It is also believed that the work done for this group will serve as inspiration for the organization’s other clienteles.

With the help of ChatGPT-4, renamed J.A.K.E. for the occasion (in honor of the creator of the design sprints, Jake Knapp), the team confirmed its intuition right from the start: the main issue surrounding the current presentation of its offer was its lack of clarity. The subsequent stages are therefore used to consider creative solutions submitted anonymously, which must then be voted on.

In this respect, the design sprints process is very effective in allowing everyone to express their ideas without bias or internal dynamics influencing the choices.

Each time, J.A.K.E. distinguishes itself by its unequalled capacity for synthesis.

“It happened regularly that we chose his proposal, not because it was radically original or different from ours, but simply because J.A.K.E. was able to formulate it in the clearest and most complete way,” explains Francis Beaumont-Deslauriers.

“J.A.K.E. didn’t necessarily take us anywhere else, since he uses what we give him, but he was a ‘neutral’ participant – he didn’t carry all the emotional baggage that you might have in a team. This allowed him to present things in a very rational way, by going straight to the point,” notes Marie-Eve Chaumont.

In concrete terms, during the workshops, the person responsible for managing J.A.K.E. provided it with all sorts of information submitted by the sprint participants, as well as transcripts of their discussions. Based on the information available, J.A.K.E. would answer the same questions as the team.

“It was a bit like having a Paul Houde at the table: someone with a memory like an elephant, who remembered everything we said, whether it was three days ago or two minutes ago, and who was able to make connections between it all,” says Marie-Eve Chaumont.

The Result

Even though the scope of the project was larger than originally planned, the Factry team now has a clear idea of what they need to do before briefing the website design team. This is one of the great strengths of design sprints in general, and what makes them hyper-performant in supporting companies in starting up large projects, no matter what their nature.

I came into the sprint with an obsession about the site’s arborescence,” recalls Francis Beaumont-Deslauriers. But, through the process, I quickly realized that there were much more fundamental things we had to tackle first.” It’s the whole way of presenting and categorizing its diverse offering that Factry needs to revisit.

“We’re at a point of no return: we’ve lifted the carpet, we’ve seen what cleaning needed to be done, and we’ve even organized the dust,” illustrates Marie-Eve Chaumont. Little by little, we’re going to do the cleaning-we’ve already started.” La Factry is still aiming for a fall 2023 launch.

For Cédric Martineau, this first design sprint experience with ChatGPT-4 opens up all sorts of possibilities. “Not only is its ability to synthesize extraordinary to produce summaries that are both comprehensive and devoid of the biases that humans can have, but it will also allow, if circumstances warrant, to outright cut out certain steps from a design sprint.” The Factry’s innovation practice lead sees so many opportunities to lighten this very rich, but rather energy-intensive process, particularly by requiring the working team to be present only at certain key moments in the process.

We don’t want to adapt our offer to every passing trend, but we consider that the arrival of ChatGPT in our lives has a transformative potential similar to that of the arrival of the Internet,” explains Marie-Eve Chaumont. If, as creatives, we don’t learn how to use it, we’re missing out.”

It’s not about-at least not for now-replacing human beings in fundamental roles, but rather about increasing tenfold what they will be able to accomplish. “People who refuse to use artificial intelligence will have a hard time competing with those who have decided to embrace its possibilities,” summarizes Cédric Martineau. In this sense, Factry is very well positioned.



Team Factry