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BMNT's Hacking for Defense - Mission Results 2016

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Born out of a combination of the rapid problem sourcing and curation Pete Newell developed on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Steve Blank’s Lean Startup process, Hacking for Defense (H4D) has set the national security arena afire. H4D projects have earned recognition as the fastest way to bring technological innovations to bear on defense’s thorniest problems,
whether through a BMNT enterprise effort, or a graduate-level course facilitated by Hacking for Defense, Inc (H4Di).

We’ve developed strong partnerships with academics at Stanford, Columbia, and Georgetown Universities; military organizations like DIUx, JIDO and the NGA; and with countless startups throughout Silicon Valley. Through these relationships, we’ve been able to create a vibrant ecosystem passionate about identifying, isolating and solving problems no matter what their form.

We are proud of how far we’ve come in the last year and we are already gearing up for more in 2017. Next year promises explosive growth throughout our ventures and our team is sure that they will continue to deliver the transformative results our national security forces need.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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BMNT's Hacking for Defense - Mission Results 2016

  1. 1. TM MISSION RESULTS2016 HACKING FOR DEFENSE
  2. 2. THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING. Born out of a combination of the rapid problem sourcing and curation Pete Newell developed on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Steve Blank’s Lean Startup process, Hacking for Defense (H4D) has set the national security arena afire. H4D projects have earned recognition as the fastest way to bring technological innovations to bear on defense’s thorniest problems, whether through a BMNT enterprise effort, or a graduate-level course facilitated by Hacking for Defense, Inc (H4Di). We’ve developed strong partnerships with academics at Stanford, Columbia, and Georgetown Universities; military organizations like DIUx, JIDO and the NGA; and with countless startups throughout Silicon Valley. Through these relationships, we’ve been able to create a vibrant ecosystem passionate about identifying, isolating, and solving problems no matter what their form. We are proud of how far we’ve come in the last year and we are already gearing up for more in 2017. Next year promises explosive growth throughout our ventures and our team is sure that they will continue to deliver the transformative results our national security forces need. 1 1 For more information on educational programs facilitated by Hacking for Defense, Inc., see www.h4di.org
  3. 3. CONTENTS 01Who We Are 052016 Results 07Case Studies 13Our World 17Preparing for 2017 21Working With Us
  4. 4. 1 2 3 4 1 22016 Mission Results 2016 Mission Results HARD PROBLEMS ARE OUR WORLD All of our work has a common thread. Our ultimate goal is always to solve problems, and to improve the process for the next problem. Problems are the fuel that drives our engine, the harder the problem the higher the octane. Few people get happier as their work gets more difficult. We do. We try to follow a four-step process to guide our strategy. The steps are: Hacking for Defense loves problems, the harder the better. Do things to create opportunities. Develop hypotheses for each opportunity. Test hypotheses. Make decisions based on test results. H4DiBMNT
  5. 5. 3 42016 Mission Results 2016 Mission Results HARNESSING MULTIPLE TRACKS FOR PROBLEM SOLVING There is no shortage of hard government problems that need solving, but luckily we’ve found there is no shortage of individuals looking to lend a hand. To maximize our impact, Hacking For Defense acts across two parallel tracks: H4D sprints, and our academic courses organized by the non-profit, H4Di.org. H4D sprints are the focus of BMNT’s efforts. We run teams through a roughly 90 day process, digging into the root of their problem while building a coalition of stakeholders inside government and throughout the commercial sector who have a tangible stake in the problem and its solution. Through user testing, problem refinement, and outreach, teams emerge with early-stage prototypes for further testing and/or a pathway for development (often utilizing the agile contracting authorities of the sponsoring agencies). Our academic courses are focused on student innovation, helping harness the creative genius of college students to solve more hard government problem. Universities run Hacking for Defense , wherein government sponsors propose hard problems and teams of students form to tackle them using the Lean Methodology. Our team has donated countless hours, curated problems, and refined methodologies to enable the growth of Hacking for Defense to seven universities across the U.S. The success of this initial pilot course spawned the creation of an additional “Hacking for” courses focused on Diplomacy. H4DiBMNT
  6. 6. 5 62016 Mission Results 2016 Mission Results H4D BY THE NUMBERS 1,006 188 94 75 Interviews Government Particpants MVPs Created Student Particpants Commercial Companies Involved 1,834+ Government Agencies 64 Tradecraft Designers 14 Sprints 12 Sprint Solutions in Development7 Student Teams Continuing Post H4D Course 4 H4DiBMNT
  7. 7. 7 82016 Mission Results 2016 Mission Results CASE STUDIES Cyber National Mission Force - H4D Sprint The Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF) began H4D seeking to: “Determine time and cost effective ways to increase the cost curve on adversary cyberspace operations.” H4D brought together 18 participants – cyber analysts, program managers, and mission operators from 9 organizations across Cyber Command and the intelligence community – with 21 experts from 14 companies and Stanford University to tailor their solution approach. While interacting with the current state of the art in emerging commercial capabilities, the participants maintained a user-story mindset, which paired their tremendous experience with the art of the possible, and focused efforts on providing a tangible benefit to users. They emerged from the Lean Methodology with a refined understanding of their problem, which refocused their efforts on leveraging automated orchestration to increase the cost-curve for adversary cyberspace operations. Armed with more clarity and a narrower focus, the CNMF team built a pathway for the development of automated orchestration pilot and operationalization. DIUx’s Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) now allows CNMF to rapidly pursue solution options as they are identified; while the pathway itself enables them to focus on broader automated response options in the near future. Overview Key Takeaways Refined and refocused understanding of their institutional problems Deep awareness of the current art of the possible Clearly articulated metrics for successful testing and evaluation Roadmap for quick-turn solution development with DIUx’s Commercial Solution Opening H4DiBMNT
  8. 8. 9 102016 Mission Results 2016 Mission Results Team SkyNet - H4Di Stanford Course (Spring 2016) Team Skynet paired with SOCOM during the pilot Stanford Hacking for Defense class to increase the situational awareness of small teams using commercial-off-the-shelf drones. The team was a diverse sample of Stanford students, and included an embedded systems engineer, a data- scientist turned law student, a UI/UX software engineer, and an active duty army captain with firsthand experience using UAV platforms in the field. Skynet spent the remaining weeks investigating both the technical aspects of automation and the usability aspects. They discovered a need to keep a man in the loop, and identified the most promising new algorithms to provide the autonomous behavior needed. By the end of H4D they conducted 107 interviews, interviewing 52 end-users, 26 technology experts, 14 buyers, and 8 company executives. Skynet continued to develop their technology after the class, and was accepted to a SOFWERX Rapid Prototyping Event. Skynet immediately jumped into their problem, leveraging their own network of contacts to facilitate rapid access to their end-users. They initially investigated the suitability of new technologies like Augmented Reality for human-drone interaction, but changed their tactics after running a metacognitive obstacle course. In it, Team Skynet worked with a California National Guard unit to simulated the physical and mental strain routinely experienced by soldiers in combat. Two things became painfully obvious: soldiers are already juggling multiple systems, and the cognitive load placed on warfighters in combat greatly impedes their ability to do other things, like pilot or oversee UAVs. Introducing new technologies would force soldiers to familiarize themselves with yet another system. Therefore, Skynet opted to integrate with the Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK), a system already preferred and used by SOF elements. When paired with the cognitive challenge, this guided Skynet to the most critical issue, of automation. Overview Key Takeaways Results grounded in end-user feedback Solution pathways developed with an eye towards successful fielding Work continuing after the conclusion of course, leveraging existing acquisition programs End-product benefiting from both pre- existing systems and new capabilities H4DiBMNT
  9. 9. 11 122016 Mission Results 2016 Mission Results WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT HACKING FOR DEFENSE [It] was truly a great opportunity to learn and apply new skills. It introduced concepts like the ‘Mission Model Canvas’, which when coupled with Agile practices resonate very well with the direction our government clients are looking to go in the next 5-10 years. -Garey Taylor, Booz Allen Hamilton Coming here and comparing the Marine Corps process and the sprint process, this is a streamlined Marine Corps process. We can replicate it within the DoD. We just need to make sure we’re somewhere else, that we’re not in uniform, because you won’t talk as openly to someone who’s a general, not with confidence. -Staff Sergeant, United States Marine Corps I think Air Force Research Lab and Air Force program managers need to embrace processes that lead to more rapid innovation, failing fast, and greater focus on the value proposition in their ideas. -Engineer, Air Force Research Lab Simple, it works. -Major, United States Air Force -John Kerry, Secretary of State We’re at the start of a global disruption, and a lot of people are feeling left behind. But you guys are at the forefront of it and aren’t afraid to make it something that can positively impact people…I’m really impressed with all the problems you’re working on, from artifical intelligence and machine learning to space and countering violent extremism, I’m really supportive of it. Solve these problems!! -Captain, United States Air Force It is eye opening to experience learn how problems are solved using the Mission Model Canvas. Getting a chance to work through full process highlights how fast innovation can occur in real time. -Major General Nakasone, Head of Army Cyber It’s an incredibly valuable insight that you get when you move outside of 50 miles of Washington, DC, and you bring your best talent out here…that’s at the end of the day just money for us. H4DiBMNT
  10. 10. 13 142016 Mission Results 2016 Mission Results OUR WORLD The H4D team doesn’t work in a vacuum. Whether it’s our government problem sponsors or the companies we’ve brought into the fold, our success comes down to the talent and dedication of those we’ve worked with. These are just some of the world-class partners that we’ve worked with in 2016: Government Commercial H4DiBMNT
  11. 11. 15 162016 Mission Results 2016 Mission Results KEYS TO SUCCESS We’ve learned alot this year. All of it has strengthened not only us but our work. Commitment The commitment of our problem owners is unrivaled. Without them, MVPs could not be developed and hypotheses would not get tested. Testability MVPs can be sexy, but the key concept is minimum. MVPs are not yet prototypes, and in fact, often seem closer to a high school science project. If they don’t actually test and validate critical hypotheses then they are a waste of time. Focus The H4D process is both a time- and mentally-intensive experience. Participants who give their all receive the best results. Leadership Buy-In Senior Leadership buy-in is crucial. Most often a roadblock is not monetary in nature – but simply the permission to experiment and the ability to alter policy. Closed Loop Much of the learning flows from private sector to the government. We’ve closed this loop so that the private sector gains as much as it gives. Partner companies now receive quick and detailed feedback on their offerings, while no future contracts can be promised, partners can better tailor their products to government customers. Common Language Even within different parts of the Department of Defense talking the same language is a problem; bring in outside companies or university students without defense experience and communication without a planned common language becomes a real challenge. H4DiBMNT
  12. 12. 17 182016 Mission Results 2016 Mission Results 2017 SNEAK PREVIEW The H4D sprint team is on track to tackle even more thornier problems, including: Tactical biometric sensors and data Counter-drone defense systems Secure near-field wireless networks Commercial satellite networks and launch systems Hacking for Urban Resiliency Australian Department of Defense Hacking for Diplomacy Hacking for Development Hacking for Manufacturing Hacking for Hollywood Peer-to-Peer collaboration to facilitate rapid prototyping Facial recognition through augmented reality Roadside bomb detection through augmented reality H4D Sprint Focus Areas Our academic course is expanding into even more policy areas: Academic Courses As we look at more global problems we are expanding H4D internationally: International Expansion H4DiBMNT 01 02 03
  13. 13. 19 202016 Mission Results 2016 Mission Results Boise State University North Dakota State University Columbia University Quinnipiac University Rochester Institute of Technology Georgetown University University of Pittsburgh United States Military Academy James Madison UniversityOhio State University University of Central Florida University of Southern Mississippi Utah State University Stanford University University of California – San Diego University of Southern California University of Technology Sydney The initial success of the Hacking for Defense class at Stanford University inspired interest from a number of universities, government problem sponsors, and corporate mentors. The first cohort expansion of Hacking for Defense will multiply the number of problems being addressed, and the number of college students channeling their expertise toward becoming a member of the 21st Century national security workforce. H4Di Projected 2017 Universities H4DiBMNT
  14. 14. 21 222016 Mission Results 2016 Mission Results OUR TOOLKIT Our toolkit is designed to increase the speed at which your organization solves its problems. Here are just some of the tools we use: Mission Model Canvas (MMC)* A framework of hypotheses about the way your proposed solution would fit together. We use the MMC to capture and test guesses. Product Sprint An immersive five-day experience to test and improve hypotheses about specific solutions to a problem. This requires 10-12 personnel from the sponsor organization. Value Proposition Canvas* A “zoomed-in” look at the Beneficiaries at the heart of the problem. This helps us understand the situation from their perspective. Technical Terrain Walk A three-day exploration of technologies and companies working on the problem. This requires 2-3 personnel from the sponsor organization assigned to solve the problem. Design Thinking A zoomed-in look at the users at the center of an idea. This design discipline helps you understand problems and opportunities from the perspective of the people with the problem. Problem Validation A process of rapidly testing the major assumptions of a problem. Experts from academia and industry offer feedback about hidden challenges and other limiting factors to consider. Problem Translation A restatement of an important problem to make it accessible to people outside the sponsor organization. Potential partners may not understand the way you describe a problem internally. Beg, Borrow, Steal A process of reviewing products and services with the goal of “taking” the best elements to adapt them to our problem. H4DiBMNT *We’ve worked closely with Alexander Osterwalder to adapt his original Business Model Canvas & Value Proposition Canvas to support H4D
  15. 15. 23 242016 Mission Results 2016 Mission Results PROBLEM CHECKLIST Is your problem right for us? Do you have authority to work on the problem, and ability to implement solutions resulting from the program? Is this a critical problem for your organization? Will you and key members of your organization have time to devote to the short, but intense H4D process? Can you define what success will look like? Will a solution be actionable within a 1-3 year time horizon? H4DiBMNT

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