MS&E 297: Hacking for Defense

The class will be on Tuesdays from 4:30 - 7:20

This course provides hands-on learning on what it’s like to tackle real world problems that need a technical solution, now. The problems have real military and other government agency sponsors and they need teams of students to help them find technical solutions to their critical challenges. The class teaches you the methodology from Lean Launchpad to develop  technology  that can provide those solutions.  

This class combines theory with a ton of hands-on practice to give you a framework to test the business model of a startup while creating all of the pressures and demands of the real world in an early stage start up. It will also give you experience working with various government agencies like the Department of Defense (DoD), Veterans Administration, and National Security Agency (NSA).

An ideal student team is diverse. It is comprised of multiple disciplines e.g. engineers, scientists, business school and policy students. Your team will work with a team of problem sponsors, military liaisons, and industry mentors as you encounter the complexity of what it takes to actually deploy a solution and experience the chaos and uncertainty of how a startup actually works.

You will learn to use the Mission Model Canvas and each block will be a new adventure outside the classroom as you test each part of your mission/business model!

Join us for our info sessions to learn more about the course, meet the teaching team, and find teammates for the class!

Sign up to stay up to date or to find a team with this form!

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Questions? Email Rachel Olney:

Key Dates

Info Session 1 (Pizza provided)
5:00 - 7:00pm March 1, 2017
Info Session 2 
6:00 - 8:00pm March 6, 2017

Find team members, join a team - Select here.

Deadline for applications - 11:59 pm, Friday, March 10, 2017

Team Interviews - Tuesday, March 14th and Wednesday, March 15th, 2017


Course Title: MS&E 297 Hacking for Defense: Solving National Security Issues with the Lean Launchpad

Instructors: Steve BlankJoe FelterPete Newell Steve Weinstein

ourse AdvisorBill Perry


  • Rachel Olney (Head TA) (

  • Isaac Matthews (

  • Darren Hau (dhau@stanford.ed)

Class details: Spring 2017, April 4  - June 6
Tuesdays 4:30 PM - 7:20 PM

Application: Admission is by teams of 4 Stanford students from any school or department. Limited enrollment by application.