H4D™ Syllabus

Course No.: IDS560 & IDS460
Title of Course: Hacking for Defense™ (H4D): Solving National Security Issues and Finding Dual Purpose Solutions with Lean Launchpad™

Semester: Summer 2017

Instructor:   Dan DeMott and Dr. Henry Jones

Email: dan.demott@usm.edu

Email: henry.l.jones@usm.edu

Office Telephone: 601.266.4207

Office Hours: By appointment. Please feel free to contact the instructional team by phone or email. The team’s phone messages are always forwarded and I get my email regardless of location.


The University of Southern Mississippi Mission Statement

Our primary mission is to cultivate intellectual development and creativity through the generation, dissemination, application and preservation of knowledge.

Office of Interdisciplinary Studies Mission Statement

The Interdisciplinary Studies program offers a flexible and rigorous curriculum that draws upon and integrates knowledge from multiple disciplines and that is designed for varied intellectual and career interests. Offering careful mentoring, advising, and program planning for students, IDS also engages students in complex problem solving and advanced research.

Based on best practices in interdisciplinary pedagogy and current theories of interdisciplinary study and research, the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi requires a three-level sequence of IDS courses. At the end of this sequence, students will produce a significant capstone project that integrates their disciplinary interests and prepares them to meet the professional and intellectual needs of contemporary society.

Text:  Business Model Generation: Osterwalder, et al
Value Proposition Design: Osterwalder, et al
Startup Owner’s Manual: Blank & D

Credit Hours: 3 hours

Goal: Hands-on experience in understanding, and working with the Defense (DOD) and Intelligence Community (IC), Department of Homeland Security on actual problems and finding dual purpose solutions.

In-Person:   TBD

On-line live sessions – TBD

Drop Date: TBD


  1. All team members must be present in first class for the team to be enrolled in the class (unless previously excused)
  2. Teams need to interview 10 beneficiaries before the first class
  3. Teams need to present their first MVP in the first class
  4. Read the Intellectual Property section of the FAQ


Hacking for Defense™ (H4D) is designed to provide USM students the opportunity to learn how to work with the Department of Defense (DoD), Intelligence Community (IC), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to better address the nation’s emerging threats and security challenges. We teach the student not how to build demos for generals and Agency Directors but to understand how to deploy solutions to our nation’s warfighters, law enforcement, and the many others charged with protecting and defending this nation’s way of life, with the speed and urgency required to compete in the modern threat environment.

This national network of classes will provide a university-based ecosystem that can develop prototypes that match DOD/DHS/IC users’ needs in months rather than years. Further, by creating a national network of colleges and universities, the Hacking for Defense program can scale to provide hundreds of solutions a year. In doing so the universities will also develop the future workforce that our country so desperately needs to allow us to counter threats at the same speed that they are generated by our adversaries.


The central part of an Effective Business Entrepreneur is developing and implementing effective strategies, vision, and truly understanding the key beneficiaries when providing a solution with technology. Understanding the needs to meet and exceed those needs, wants, or desires of their customers, community, and to achieve or exceeds the organizational objectives.

Provide an experiential learning opportunity to see how entrepreneurialism and supporting methodologies like the Lean LaunchPad can be applied to address real-world national security challenges. Over the span of this course, each team transforms an idea into a viable solution to a problem facing their DoD/DHS/IC or other government agency sponsor.

Course Summary and Schedule


Brown Bag Lunches, Information Sessions/Mixers  Office Hours


10 weeks prior Brown-bag lunch #1 Innovation at speed on tough, big national security problems. Why and how.
8 weeks prior Brown-bag lunch #2 Innovation at speed on tough, big national security problems. Why and how
5 weeks prior Info session/Mixer Course Q/A, students form teams/mix with DOD/DHS/IC
4 weeks prior Info session/Mixer Course Q/A, students form teams/ mix with DOD/DHS/IC
4 weeks prior Office Hours Talk to any teams who have detailed questions
3 weeks prior Applications due Teams fill out MM & Value Prop Canvas
5-2 weeks prior Begin MVP development Teams start working on problem solutions. Present 1st   in MVP day 1 of class
Week 1 Workshop 1 Introduction and How to work with the DOD/DHS/IC
Week Team

Presentation Topic

Lecture/ Presentation Lecture Topic



Week 1

Jan 16

No Team Presentation

Team Workshop, presentation prep, Instructor Q/A

  Innovation at speed on tough, big national security problems. Why and how.

Problem Packet

Problem Selection and Team Formation

Set Team Up with Sponsors

Week 2

Jan 23

No Team Presentation

Team Workshop, presentation prep, Instructor Q/A

Workshop 1 Introduction and How to work with the DOD/DHS/IC
Week 3

Jan 30

Mission Model Canvas Lecture 1 Beneficiaries/Beneficiary Development in the DOD/DHS/IC
Week 4

Feb 6

Beneficiaries USM/H4D-TED Value Proposition/Understanding the military rank structure
Week 5

Feb 13 no class

No Class
Week 6

Feb 20

No Team Presentation

Team Workshop, presentation prep, Instructor Q/A

Lecture 2 Protecting you IP
Week 7

Feb 27

Value Proposition USM/H4D-TED Product/Mission Fit, Dual Use
Week 8

Mar 6

No Team Presentation

Team Workshop, presentation prep, Instructor Q/A

Lecture 3 Profile of a Business Book Reader
Week 9

Mar 12-16


No Class
Week 10

Mar 20

Product/Mission Fit & Dual Use Lecture 4 Deployment
Week 11

Mar 27

Deployment Lecture 5 Buy-in & Support
Week 12

Apr 3

Buy-in & Support Lecture 6 Mission Achievement
Week 13

Apr 10

Mission Achievement Lecture 7 Activities, Resources, & Key Partners
Week 14

Apr 17

Activities, Resources & Partners Lecture 8 Mission/Budget Cost
Week 15

Apr 24

Mission/Budget Cost Lecture 9 Reflection / Dry run/practice
Week 16

May 1

Lessons Learned Lessons Learned Final Lessons Learned Presentations


This course is team-based and XX% of your grade will come from your team progress and the initial project. Your peers will also grade your contribution to your team. Grading criteria are broken down as follows:Grading Criteria

15% Individual participation in class. You will be giving feedback to your peers.

30% Out-of-the-building progress as measured by blog write-ups and presentations each week. Each week, team members must complete required number of interviews and update the Mission Model Canvas.

25% Team weekly “lesson learned” update presentation (see weekly schedule for required content and format)

30% Team final presentation (see Appendix for format)

This total score is multiplied by a “peer grading multiplier” as assigned to you by your team at the end of the quarter.