Define the Value

You have considered the problem you are trying to solve and have spoken to numerous people involved in the use and procurement of your solution. It is useful to crystallise the core value of your innovation in a few bullet points and to identify competitors and similar offerings to understand how you set yourself apart.

Value definition


Who curated this Module

Anna Jordan

  • Head of Operations, CAR

  • Previously material science researcher

  • Start-up strategy analyst



You have thought about your customer, but let's get to grips with what they really want

The 'Value Proposition Canvas' linked here will help you to structure your thinking around how to define and communicate the unique value of your innovation. It can help to reset your perspective to better appreciate the full of benefits that your innovation could have for a beneficiary. This blog outlines some mistakes to avoid, and this article gives some good tips for life science innovations.

Print or draw out the canvas and fill it in. I would suggest using post-it notes, so that you can move them around and replace them as you speak to more beneficiaries and better understand the value of your innovation.

Summarise your value

Write out the core values your innovation delivers as a list of 3 or 4 bullet points. Bear these in mind for the next steps


Market analysis

How to do a market analysis

The performance of a thorough market analysis is essential to validate your idea. Often, it may highlight a way in which you can pivot from the values you have just written out to make more impact.


This article both describes what a market analysis is, and how to approach performing this quantitative and qualitative assessment of the market. It looks at:

  1. Demographics and Segmentation

  2. Target Market

  3. Market Need

  4. Competition

  5. Barriers to Entry

  6. Regulation

We will look at numbers 1-3 again later. For now, it is worth doing some research into your competition - how are people currently solving this problem? What products do they use and how does your solution differ? What makes it better? Here is a good article about how to analyse your competitive landscape.

Likewise, it is worth reflecting on potential barriers to entry. We will come back to these risks again later also.


Unmet Need

Reassess the added value that your solution provides

After reflecting on your market, its size and other players in the space, look back at your core value-add. Is it relevant? This iteration between the value your innovation provides and the value the market needs will drive success. 

When defining the competitive value (differentiation) of your innovation, understanding your market well will be invaluable. Time spent now reflecting on the market will be well worth it when building out your business plan.

This project was joint-funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Brain Injury MedTech Co-operative based at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University of Cambridge. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

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