From Blank Page to Brainwave: Sparking Ideas With Thoughtful Prompts


cauri jaye

on •

Aug 30, 2023

From Blank Page to Brainwave: Sparking Ideas With Thoughtful Prompts

I design AI products daily, and I find prompts an invaluable Swiss Army knife for imagination, creativity, and problem-solving.

I rely on prompts’ remarkable power and versatility to innovate constantly. I can combine them in endless ways and customise prompts to resolve any situation, research any project, and create new ideas on demand. The key lies in learning to frame the perfect prompt to unlock a world of potential.

To see the potential and variety, I used all these nine prompts in the last week alone:

  • A prompt to explain complex code in plain language, enabling collaboration between technical and non-technical teams

  • A prompt that designed expert training for a personalised marathon regimen tailored to a specific person’s abilities, goals, and schedules

  • A prompt that can instantly generate correctly formatted SQL queries from simple descriptive phrases

  • A prompt to evaluate 5000 companies for a fit to another company’s services

  • A prompt that wrote all the legal documents for the chain of title of a movie

  • A prompt that could learn a person’s writing style to pass on to other AIs so it can replicate that style in new work (working with the writer)

  • A prompt that outlines how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich - tracking all the steps back to farming the peanuts, fruit and sugar

  • A prompt to help teams prepare for enterprise sales calls

  • A prompt to generate ideas as to how to publicise the unique culture at @artium 

Prompts also fuel creativity beyond pure problem-solving. I’ve designed prompts to craft customised daily yoga sequences tailored to individual needs and abilities. Other prompts have helped clients architect their dream homes, with AI generating full descriptions ready for an architect's sketches and plans. It even outputs a prompt for Midjourney, producing beautiful multi-angle renderings of these dream homes from scratch.

Prompts can unleash ideas at lightning speed. Need a viral loop to boost product growth? A prompt can rapidly produce innovative suggestions. Want to map out a complete marketing funnel? Prompts enable on-demand strategic brainstorming. I've even created prompts to take rough notes from a client meeting and generate a complete statement of work with all necessary details formatted correctly.

Prompts transform fuzzy notions into focused plans of action.

Prompt Types and Strategies

Mixing and matching prompt types and structures expands possibilities exponentially. Framing the perfect prompt requires both creativity and analytical precision. Building a robust prompt suite that combines capabilities in novel ways takes experimentation and intuition, constantly strengthening creative muscles.

Here are several common text-based prompt writing strategies:

Direct Question Prompts

The simplest prompt structure is a direct question, useful for factual inquiries or straightforward tasks:

  • What is the capital of France?

  • Translate this sentence into Spanish.

Direct questions provide fast access to an AI model's knowledge.

Instructional Prompts

You can give the AI specific instructions to perform a task:

  • Write a sonnet about Mars.

  • Generate a list of coding languages.

Instructional prompts leverage AI capabilities for defined objectives.  

Scenario-Based Prompts

Painting a hypothetical scenario or narrative for the AI allows creative problem-solving:

  • Imagine you're a product manager. What are the steps to discovering stakeholder needs?

  • Imagine you want to write a movie script but don't have any ideas. What would you do to come up with some ideas?

Scenario prompts enable AI-powered strategic brainstorming.

Exploratory Prompts  

Asking the AI to explore complex topics openly produces new insights:

  • What could be Bitcoin's potential impacts if legal tender?

  • Brainstorm viral loop ideas for our app.

Exploratory prompts spark innovative ideation.

Recursive Prompts

Recursive prompts loop the AI through steps where each round informs the next:

  • Generate idea -> Evaluate idea -> Improve idea -> Repeat  

Recursion allows refinement toward goals.

Seed Prompts

Providing a seed concept asks the AI to build on it:

  • Take this story outline and develop an entire plot.  

Seeds unleash AI expansiveness.

Adversarial Prompts

Asking the AI to argue opposing sides sharpens thinking:

  • Argue for and against letting AI write tests and code.

  • Argue for and against pineapple on pizza

Adversarial prompts reveal nuances.

Reflective Adversarial Prompts

Having the AI debate issues “in character” as experts produce insights:

  • How would a philosopher, scientist, and artist each view AI art?

Role-playing fosters rounded perspectives.

Chain Prompts

Chaining prompts builds interactive complexity, where the output of one becomes the input of another:

  • Product summary prompt -> User persona prompt -> Marketing funnel prompt -> Viral loop prompt

Chains enable deeper exploration.

Limitless Potential

The limits of prompts are the limits of our imagination. Combining prompt types provides endless possibilities to create, innovate, and solve problems in any role. I encourage you to explore prompting strategies and let your imagination run wild!

Prompts can power any professional project or drive any creative passion. Prompts unlock collaboration, ideation, innovation and invention. Be bold in dreaming up prompts. Infuse prompts with a sense of play as well as purpose. Every field or discipline can advance through judicious prompt use.

So set your prompts free! Let them help you explain, explore, instruct, ideate, iterate, debate, expand and create. Combine prompt types in new ways tailored to your goals. Let prompts spark your professional projects and fire your creative passions. The potential is truly limitless.