University of Southern Mississippi students will have an opportunity to study issues and create solutions facing the country’s national security as part of a Hacking for Defense (H4D) course being offered for the first time during the Summer 2017 semester.
The new course is administered through the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies for undergraduate and graduate students.
H4D gives students hands-on experience in understanding and working with the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Intelligence Community (IC) on actual problems they currently confront. Students learn how to innovate at speed and how to deploy solutions using lean methods to solve national security problems.
“We are excited about the launch of this course as it reflects another example of how the University of Southern Mississippi is placing more emphasis on fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Chase Kasper, Assistant Vice President for Research, Technology Transfer, and Corporate Relations. "We are committed to providing opportunities for transformative engagement for our students to help create solutions for stakeholders’ real-world problems.”
The Office of Technology Development was instrumental in identifying the correct directors, deans, instructors, and private sector partners to ensure Hacking for Defense could be delivered and successful on the USM campus.
The class combines that same rapid problem sourcing process developed in military context with the Lean LaunchPad Methodology for rapid customer learning and product development. The course was first taught at Stanford as the Lean LaunchPad course.
The focus of the H4D class at other institutions has been on solving DOD and IC problems; USM will be adding the DHS in hope of finding dual-purpose solutions. However, initial indications are that the approach is generalizable and can embrace the challenges faced by a range of organizations that measure their success, not in terms of revenue and profit, like most private sector companies, but rather by goal achievement and creating public value for their constituents.
Problems USM-H4D Student Teams may tackle:
“It’s important that graduate education includes opportunities for students to develop professional skills that transcend disciplinary boundaries and set them apart in a competitive job market. Therefore, I am very excited that our students will have the opportunity to participate in H4D beginning this summer. This course will provide a unique training experience that requires students to address contemporary, real-world challenges in partnership with government agencies while building skills in cross-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork, strategic planning and efficient project management, and adept communication,” said Dr. Karen Coats, Dean of USM’s Graduate School.