Follow up Lab 2: Define your solution and your project value proposition

On the 23rd of December, OCI Lab Incubator hosted the second Online Lab named “Define your solution and your project value proposition.”

We are pleased to have had Dr. @Wajdibr as the mentor of this lab who have assisted and guided the selected project leaders in learning how to sketch a set of hypotheses and the right methodology to validate them as well as how to define the value proposition of their solution.


The participants started checking in via the Zoom conference room around 4 pm, and introduced themselves by stating their names, countries and projects using the chat room. Then @khouloud.ouesleti being the moderator and the storyteller of the lab, started welcoming the attendees and displayed the lab’s agenda.

After presenting the code of conduct in order to assure the ethical handling of the reunion, I commenced by introducing OCI lab and its mission, as it is the first online incubator to support social and green entrepreneurs in co-creating self-sustaining projects through mentoring, peer to peer learning and collective intelligence.

The main reasons why the focus was on the MENA (The Middle East and North Africa ) region is that it combines the world’s youngest population with the world’s highest unemployment and underemployment ratios in the context of poor quality service delivery. More than ever, MENA youth suffer from social, economic, and political exclusion.

It was also brought to their attention the four main components on which the incubation program is articulated that are: the online labs, the offline tasks, the webinar conducted by our experts and finally one to one labs with OCI lab mentors.

Afterwards, Mr Wajdi started displaying the objectives of the second online lab, then he continued to explain the concept of a lean startup and its methodology which is a rigorous process of iterating from plan A to a plan that works. Following the explanation of lean learning, he moved to the next part that treats the sketching of the hypothesis that represents an essential part and therefore there were many examples and templates to illustrate the point.

He also showed them how to create a hypothetical customer persona which a representation of the ideal customer.
At that point, we took a short break to ask the participants for their feedback or their questions. We have received many relevant questions and a positive feedback.

At the end, he described how to define the value proposition of their solutions and the best practices to establish an effective one, followed by an illustration of the value proposition canvas and its Ad-lib.

At last, we had a questions and answers session then we invited our mentor Emile to present himself and finally send the offline tasks to the attendees and invite them to continue the discussion via the follow-up lab link on the Edgeryders platform.

Special thanks to Dr Wajdi and the relevant interaction from our brilliant project leaders for ensuring such a productive and fruitful lab.


I have been very pleased to have this first lab with project leaders from the MENA region:

@HadeerGhareeb , Egypt, Didi-Asks

khadija Ouabdelmoumene, Morocco, @Alphawomen

@salaheddine Ogontayo, Tunisia, Identity Co.

@sirine_bouslama , Tunisia, Datascience Academy

@ayari.taha , Tunisia, Artificial intelligence for alzheimer’s and dementia predicition

@MohsenMahdaoui ,Tunisia,PaillEco

@saif.eddine.laalej Morocco, Zelij Invent

@mohamed75 , Egypt, colex

@HIBA Sedouane, Morocco, diyafa

The lab have been moderated smoothly and efficiently by @khouloud.ouesleti

Here’s a short debrief of what we have done during the lab:

Lab 2 is about helping you to sketch your business hypotheses and to define your value proposition.

Since a startup has been defined as a temporary organization used to search for a repeatable and scalable business model, it’s very important that you formulate your hypotheses to be able to test later the riskiest ones in order to find your business model and start getting and growing customers.

In this respect, 90% of the startups fail because of several common mistakes. The first mistake is building something nobody wants. Avoiding it remains the top priority for any aspiring entrepreneur.

Using the lean startup methodology is very useful since it’s a scientific method to to discover if a proposed business model is viable based on validated learning and iterations.

Here’s a link to a short video about the lean startup methodology:

So the first thing to start with is thinking about your assumptions and hypotheses that define the problem the targeted customer segment is having and the solution you are proposing.

Having a clear, accurate, relevant and measurable hypotheses is key to generate validated learning. This is why you should avoid having speculative hypotheses, using words like “like to” or “interested in” because they cannot be tested later on.

Here’s an example of how your hypotheses should be formulated: A [Specific Person] makes a [Decision/Behavior] because of a [Quantified Metric] .

In the presentation that we used during the lab and that I attached to this post, you can find additional templates of hypotheses and examples of “good” and “bad” hypotheses.

In addition to the problem / solution hypotheses, you should also sketch a persona. It’s a made up profile of an ideal customer or what is called an early adopter; It represents a customer in the targeted customer segment. Attached you can find a persona template that you can use.

Here’s a link to a short video about how to create customer personas:

One of the most important hypotheses is the one about your value proposition. In this respect, a value proposition is not a motto or a mission statement but rather the answer to the question: why should the customer by my product? It can be something that create gain or remove pain but in all the cases it must be considered from the customer perspective.

There are several templates of value proposition however it would be better to draw a value proposition canvas (VPC) to help you visualize how the value you are offering matches your customers’ profiles.

Here’s a link to the value proposition canvas:

Also, the value proposition canvas helps you to prepare the value proposition ad-lib template (please find the template attached).

We had a very interesting interaction of Q&A. Questions were about value propositions in multisided platforms and apps and the choice of persona when there are several customer segments.

The main insights from the Q&A is that you should prepare a VPC for each customer segment if you have more than one and if they are different in term of needs or jobs and also if you have a multisided platform. The same applies to customer personas.

A special thank to all the people who attended the lab and I hope that you found it helpful and useful.

Lab2 Presentation.pdf (3.0 MB) Persona template.pdf (60.9 KB) value-proposition-canvas.pdf (27.2 KB) ad-lib-value-proposition-template.pdf (32.8 KB)