I am interested in a particular topic and would like more information:   

Contact Chris Taylor at ct631@georgetown.edu or Matt Zais at mz460@georgetown.edu.

Can I have more/less than 4 students? Can my team be made up of people other than students?

Each team must include 3-5 matriculated Georgetown graduate students or DC Consortium graduate engineering students.  

** If you are not a student but are interested in providing technical advice to a team, email Chris Taylor at ct631@georgetown.edu letting him now which of the specific problems you are best suited to advise on, your company, position, LinkedIn profile, and contact info.

I'm not a U.S. Citizen; can I take this class?

Yes, all nationalities/citizenships are encouraged to apply.

For the application, should I choose a specific problem or do I apply for all problems?

We no longer require an application. Register for the class and join the fun!

I have an idea/project that I think the military/government would be interested in.  It doesn't fit one of the problem topics, can I still apply for this class?

Please contact Chris Taylor at ct631@georgetown.edu or Matt Zais @ mz460@georgetown.edu as soon as possible to see if we can identify an organization to sponsor your project.


What is the difference between this class and other entrepreneurial classes at Georgetown University?

In other Lean Startup classes, student teams come to class with a vision of a product or service they’d like to build. In H4D class, student teams may either select from an existing set of problems provided by the DoD/IC community or introduce their own ideas for DoD/IC problems that need to be solved. Although teams pick a problem to solve, H4D is not a product incubator for a specific technology solution. Instead, it provides teams with a deeper understanding of selected problems and the host of potential solutions that might be arrayed against them.

Do I have to be a US citizen to take this class?

No, all nationalities are welcome.

Do I have to have previous experience with the military or DOD/IC (Department of Defense/Intelligence Community)?

No prior DOD/IC experience is required. The class has a set of Military Liaisons and mentors to assist the teams (see the teaching team section.)

Team Formation & Ideas

How Do I Find Teams? 

Attend the Information Session and check out this Google Sheet with the list of students who are interested in the course. Please add yourself and include your problems of interest.

Do I have to choose an idea that a sponsor is providing? 

No. You can come up with your own idea and teaching team will strive to find a DOD/IC sponsor. 

What if I don’t have an idea? 

Check out the Google Sheet with the list of students who have posted their ideas. Talk to them or see if any of the DOD/IC proposals are interesting. 

What if I want to propose an idea I have to a DOD/IC organization or agency?

Contact the teaching team and we’ll connect you to a sponsoring agency.

Intellectual Property

Who owns the intellectual property tested in the Mission Model? 

If you’re working with a Georgetown University-related-technology (i.e. either research from one of the team members or GU IP), you must check with the Office of Technology Commercialization to understand Georgetown ownership rights in any resulting IP. 

  1. You own what Intellectual Property (patents, hardware, algorithms, etc.) you brought to class with you. No one (other than Georgetown) has claim to anything you brought to class.

  2. Your entire team owns any intellectual property developed for the class (such as code for a web-based project) developed during class. You are agreeing to open-source your class-developed assets. Your DOD/IC sponsor will have access to those materials.

  3. You and your team members need to disclose to each other and your DOD/IC sponsor what IP/Licensing rights any company you’ve worked at has to inventions you make at school.

  4. If any or you decide to start a company based on the class, you own only what was written and completed in the class. You have no claim for work done before or after the semester.

  5. If a subset of the team decides to start a company they do NOT “owe” anything to any other team members for work done in and during the class. All team members are free to start the same company, without permission of the others. (We would hope that a modicum of common sense and fairness would apply.)

  6. By taking this class you have agreed to these terms with your team. You may decide to modify these terms before the class by having all team members agree in writing before the team is accepted in the class.

I feel my idea/Mission Model Canvas may become a real company and the "next killer app" and I want to own it myself what should I do? 

Your slides, notes and findings will be publicly shared. Your team owns everything done in class. Discuss Intellectual Property rights with your team from the beginning. If you can’t come to agreement with the team, join another team, pick another project, or drop the class. Remember, anything you do and learn in the class is public. 

Will my Intellectual Property rights be protected when I discuss my ideas with the class?

NO. This is an open class. There are no non-disclosures. All your presentations and Beneficiary Discovery and Validation notes, Mission Model Canvases, blogs and slides can, and most likely will, be made public. This class is not an incubator. At times, you will learn by seeing how previous classes solved the same class of problem by looking at their slides, notes and blogs.

Keep in mind that successful companies are less about the original idea and more about the learning, discovery and execution. (That’s the purpose of this class.) Therefore, you must be prepared to share your ideas openly with the class. It is a forum for you to "bounce" your ideas off your peers. 

I’m not comfortable sharing what I learn with others what should I do? 

Don’t take this class. This class is not an incubator. At times you will learn by seeing how previous classes solved the same class of problem by looking at their slides, notes and blogs.

Resources Available

What kind of support will our team have?

The teaching team consists of professors, experienced military and intelligence community professionals, mentors, and multiple Research Assistants.  Each team will be assigned two mentors and a military or IC liaison. A mentor is an experienced defense/IC official, investor, or consultant assigned to your team. They’ve volunteered to help with the class and your team because they love hard problems, love startups and appreciate the importance of addressing problems facing the DoD/IC. Their job is to guide you as you get out of the building and to interface effectively with your DoD/IC sponsors. 

How often can we/should we meet with our mentor?

Your mentors expect to meet with you at least every week face-to-face or by Skype. You can email them or meet with them more often if they have time. 

Can I talk to a mentor not assigned to my team?

By all means, do so. All the mentors are happy to help. However they cannot support your team full time unless your mentor decides to swap places with them. 

I have a busy schedule and my mentor can’t meet when I want them to.

Mentors have day jobs. Asking them to meet or reply to you ASAP is not reasonable. Plan ahead to allow for a reasonable amount of time for a reply or meeting. Be concise with your request and be respectful of their time. 

I need help now.

Your first stop is your RAs. Email or sit down with them during the week if you have a problem. Your professors have office hours every week. If you need something resolved sooner, email us. 

Team Dynamics

What roles are in each team?

Traditionally, each team member is part of the “beneficiary development team”. You have to figure out how to allocate the work. 

What if my team becomes dysfunctional?

Prepare to work through difficult issues. If the situation continues, approach the teaching team. Do not wait until the end of the semester to raise the issue. 

What if one of my teammates is not "pulling his/her weight"?

Try to resolve it within your team. If the situation continues longer than a week, please approach the teaching team. Final grades will also reflect individual participation and contribution. 

What kind of feedback can I expect?

Continual and radical candor each week. Substandard work will be immediately brought to your attention.