OCI Lab -- Almost there!

I am sharing with you the final update concerning the next steps for OCI Lab. In the recent days, @nadia and the team have had different discussions with the different stakeholders about this exciting initiative. The discussions were quite fruitful, and helped to rethink how to start implementing the project and drawing young entrepreneurs, collaborators and mentors in to OCI Lab.

As you know, OCI Lab is the continuity of the Open Village project in the MENA region, which was initiated by Edgeryders’ community. This community of changemakers from all backgrounds, coming together from around the globe, connected online, all working to support each other in bringing the positive change to their communities and so the world, this is one of the most important added-value that OCI Lab is offering for social entrepreneurs and young people in the MENA region. Now, we want to emphasize this particularity. That is why we believe that the upcoming Edgeryders’ festival in 19-29 November, would be the perfect occasion for the kick off of OCI Lab. All parties, with whom we have had discussions, agreed on this.

@zmorda and I, have had a brainstorming with @nadia last week around this. We are thinking of organizing a series of Hackathons in different countries of the MENA region. In these 3 to 4 days Hackathons, we will be presenting three or four challenges, and participating teams will have to work on developing viable solutions to address at least one of these challenges. OCI Lab team, based in Tunisia, will coordinate all the hackathons, whether by physical presence or virtually through online calls.

In the beginning of all hackathons, we will have calls with all participants to present Edgeryders and OCI Lab, the challenges, the process, the expected outputs from each team, and what the winners will benefit from after the hackathons.

During the Hackathon, we organize several 1-2 hours online workshops (webinars) in order to equip the participants with new knowledge and tools that they might need when developing their project proposals and solutions. Here, I am thinking of you @noemi , @matthias , @alberto , @hugi and all who want to join us (topics could include: Future communities’ development, Blockchain, community management, AI, Data science, ethnography, how to go internationally, alternative currencies/economy, etc.), but we should deliver interesting topics (usually around IT, economics and development) for participants.

By the end of the hackathon, each team should come up with:

  • A project idea (A business Model Canvas)
  • A prototype / Demo for their solution
  • A plan of action to develop their MVP, with clear milestones and a clear budget for each milestone

OCI Lab and Edgeryders team will select the most relevant projects from all hackathons. I am thinking of up to 10 projects, but again this depends on the number of hackathons to be organized, the number of final projects presented and their relevance to the challenges. All the selected projects will go into the mentoring process through the community calls as explained before. These teams will also have a budget available to benefit from, in order ton at least, develop their MVPs as described in their plan of action, and eventually business plans to raise further funding from other donors or investors in the future. That is why we need also your thoughts about what challenges to choose, as this could help the project have better access to funding opportunities. Now, we will have a budget up to 15k $ to support the selected teams. We are thinking with @matthias how to integrate the pay coupons system in this, but we will discuss this in a separate post when this becomes clearer for us.

Currently, we are identifying all coworking spaces, universities, hubs and all community spaces, like @OurGhema (@Yosser ) , which would like to join this and organize a hackathon for their members who will be learning a lot and having an opportunity to secure a budget to develop their MVPs and their BPs, in addition to benefiting from Edgeryders and OCI Lab support along the way.

As per usual, your thoughts and comments are welcome and encourage, after all they really helped us get here (even your encouragements mean a lot for us :smiley: ).


Hi @Sohayeb and @zmorda, thanks for the update.

First off, I want you to know that we are following and cheering you on… but it is a difficult period, we are growing and sometimes it feels like we are swamped by all the exciting things that are happening.

Can you explain the relationship between the hackathons and the Festival? I imagine these hackathons will not be happening in the 10-day period of the Festival, right? I imagine this because you are still setting up the partnerships, and the Festival is coming right up. But in that case, what happens exactly in the Festival around OCI Labs?

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yes they will be happening during the 10 days of the festival - but managed by the OCI Lab team autonomously from other teams. They might ping us for doing e.g a webinar (for example with @matthias introducing the Paycoupons system in video chat and answering questions from participants). We can if we find recordings of other talks stream them and collect questions via chat. E.G Edit @hugi video from CCC talk or the community building discussion webinar that was recorded by @matteo_uguzzoni (not sure ) as part of the academy courses I think? and if Hugi has time he can answer questions in chat

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Yes, I think it will be a good think that these Hackathons will be part of the Edgeryders’ Festival, and probably they will be happening from the 22nd until the 24th of November. The deadline is tight and pretty challenging I agree, but we are doing our best to not miss this occasion :slight_smile: We are drafting a program for the hackathons. We would highly appreciate your inputs, including what topic can be presented in an online workshop and at what time. This will help a lot with partners when they see an international community will be involved.
Now, I think that at least 3 hackathons can be organized in Tunisia, including one at OurGhema, and the others in Sousse and in the Capital. We are reaching out to other people in the MENA region to see how to organize other hackathons in those countries.

Yeah I know and we appreciate it :grinning:

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@Sohayeb and @zmorda I recommend connecting with @BlackForestBoi to see whether you might be able to collaborate around process of preparing and running the hackathons.

For example. Much of the work of preparing a hackathon happens remotely/online. And it requires people with technical skills to take on certain roles:

  1. Help to coordinate the process of requirements engineering, matchmaking skills and needs
  2. Person(s) to organise communication with teams, spread messages, organise calls and publishing of requests for the teams who seek support
  3. Moderator for the event
  4. Coaches:
    • Business Models & Product development, Open Source development
    • Person well connected with funding networks/opportunities

Perhaps @zmorda and @Sohayeb can find people to take on some of this work. And so all the hackathons can follow the same funnel/process as the organiser @BlackForestBoi has described here:

As for the actual challlenges for the participants you want to engage via/for the OCI Lab, perhaps this summary of a presentation on tech Moonshots for climate change could serve as inspiration

If this is of interest it could just be good idea to invite the crew who ran it ito do repeat of their excellent talks at techfest from which I took the notes above. Perhaps with a question and answer session with participants via chat after - One of the speakers and authors of the report mentioned in there, @btincq ,is already here but you would have to discuss with him and Manuela interest, availability etc .

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@zmorda L’etude de Good Tech Lab sur Impact Tech est disponible en français ici: https://www.goodtechlab.io/fr/notre-etude

Thanks for the introduction @nadia :smiley:

Hello @BlackForestBoi ! It is really nice to meet you! I have read your post about the coming hackathon in Berlin, and I really loved the topic, and the way you are organizing it!

Actually, @zmorda and I are trying to build something similar here in the MENA region. We will organize sevral hackathons in different places at the same time, (It would a sort of one big decentralized hackthon), where we will be presenting the topic that we will work on, offring online workshops and support to the teams, all through online calls. So we were hoping if we could have a discussion regarding this, to collaborate about process of preparing and running the hackathon ?

I think the different ideas/technologies shared in this document (the summary) are really helpful, and this might serve to guide and inspire the teams in the hackathons. That is why we are thinking about the SDGs as a topic. It is pretty broad yet pretty interesting espcially if we want to end up with social entrepreneurs and projects that would have positive impact. All young people can work on projects which address one or several SDGs through the new technologies. This will also help with the matchmaking afterwards between teams choosing the same SDGs. What do you think @nadia ? ping @zmorda

yes. But let’s focus on climate change/social-ecological regeneration

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