We have four design thinking tools that can be used in implementing innovative ideas. This include;

  • Learning Launch
  • Mind Mapping
  • Story Telling
  • Visualization tool

Today we will look at the learning launch tool – this is where you make assumptions based on your best judgement. Here you create a prototype using assumptions, create your financial projections, your financial projections might not meet your business return rate, what happens then? with the learning launch you can tweak it till it meets your business requirement.

Lets implement the learning launch tool to get an idea of how this tool works. We will implement it in 5 parts;

Challenge – Here we state the problem statement, we will use this challenge to implement the learning launch tool.

Selection – In this section we will give a reason for the selecting this particular tool

Application – This sections explains how the tool is applied to address the challenge

Insight – What are the lessons learned.

Approach – What is the approach to implementing the insights.

Here is an example of a challenge;

Learning Launch tool


Agriculture is the backbone of Africa and in my country Kenya it provides more than 51% of its GDP. This
is quite impressive. Unfortunately, the Farmers behind this impressive number still live in poverty
conditions. This is because lack information on where to get market for their products, they lack
information on market prices they must depend on exploitative middlemen who take advantage of their
ignorance. There is also a long distribution chain that dilutes their revenue.
I am a founder of an online platform that links small scale farmers to buyers using mobile and web
technology. My challenge is to create a simple technology that can be easily accessed by farmers
considering that most of the farmers live in the rural areas with little access to internet services. This
project includes IT personnel and the marketing team together with our partners from Bora farmer’s
Sacco. The project is a start-up therefore run by volunteer time. The time line for this project should run
for at most 3 months to give our software development team ample time to create a prototype of the
technology. Our partners from Bora farmer’s Sacco will help us in structuring the first prototype of the
technology so us to test it with our main users. Once we come up with the prototype our marketing
team will help us in our first go-to-market research.


As a team, we have decided to use the learning launch tool. We believe this will help us design a simple
yet effective technology that our users can easily navigate. Working with some farmers from the Bora
farmer’s Sacco we have gone through several design thinking activities to come up with a go-to-market
prototype. Doing this activity has helped us in selecting the learning launch tool for our challenge. This
tool will help us go through an iterating process that will improve on our solution. Working with the
prototype will help us experiment the idea with a larger group of farmers.


Our first launch we focused on providing a mobile application that runs on a smartphone, with
incredible features like image capture, chat and location. This is to ensure we capture quality
information about farm products farmers would like to sell. Our focus was to observe how farmers
interact with the mobile platform. This process helped us understand our market, many farmers liked
the idea behind the technology, however, most of them did not own a smartphone and they had limited
or no internet services due to their rural geographical locations. Most farmers owned the simple feature
phone that runs on Symbian operating system. After a lengthy observation on the farmers we realized
we should have focused on human centered design instead of product centered design. We spent the
next 3 days with both our marketing and IT teams together with the farmers to improve on the
technology to run on a feature phone. We worked through all possible solutions and we settled on
creating a USSD platform.
Our second launch was to release the new platform to a group of farmers to see how they will interact
with it. Our focus was to observe to see if there were any gaps. Through this process it helped us
understand our market and what our users considered simple. After testing the second platform we conducted interviews with the farmers who interacted with it to understand their experiences and to
find out if this second prototype was easy to navigate. Our priority was to ensure that the farmers could
use the platform with ease.


By applying the learning tool, we designed and tested our solutions. Through the learning process we
got to improve our mobile application to meet user’s expectation. It is through this process we realized
that the farmers were more comfortable with the second mobile application. Our marketing department
used the results of this process to re-strategize our marketing campaign. Moving forward our business
will focus on human centered design to improve our product and services.


The learning launch is the appropriate tool for our business. We need as a team to review the insight
gained from our first two launches and incorporate this insight into future launch designs as this is the
most effective and ideal way of approaching and implementing solutions. Future launch designs should
reflect insight gained, progress made, and come closer to a compelling solution ready for full roll out.

Now that you have seen how to implement the design thinking learning launch tool you can try to implement the other tools.