Is ChatGPT a better entrepreneur than most?

In a new experiment, Wharton’s Christian Terwiesch finds out if ChatGPT can outperform MBA students in coming up with new products.

In January, Wharton School professor Christian Terwiesch gave his MBA final exam to ChatGPT. It passed with flying colors.

Now, he’s at it again with a new experiment to determine whether ChatGPT can come up with product ideas better and faster than his students. It can. And cheaper, too.

A robot holding up a lightbulb.
Image: Nuthawut for Adobe Stock

The experiment is described in his latest white paper, which is co-authored with Wharton Operations Information, and Decisions Professor Karl Ulrich, former Wharton graduate student Lennart Meincke, and Cornell Tech professor Karan Girotra. Terwiesch and Ulrich also co-authored “The Innovation Tournament Handbook.”

The scholars started with 200 ideas submitted by MBA students from a 2021 class. The class assignment required them to come up with products for the college student market that would retail for $50 or less. The timing of the class is noteworthy because the ideas predate the release of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools now available for free.

Next, the scholars fed the same assignment to ChatGPT-4, prompting it for 200 ideas. The chatbot made quick work of the task, generating 200 ideas in about 15 minutes.

The results show the average purchase probability of a ChatGPT product was 47%, compared with 40% for the human idea. The preference for “seeded” ideas was even higher at 49%.

Terwiesch, who is also co-director of the Mack Institute for Innovation Management, says among the takeaways from the experiment, the first is a “no-brainer.” Everybody should be using ChatGPT to help them generate ideas.

Read more at Knowledge at Wharton.