About the Class
A collaboration with Stanford University, Hacking for Diplomacy (H4Di) uses innovative research methods for students to tackle real-world problems that defy territorial boundaries and resist easy resolution.
In this class, student teams take actual foreign policy challenges and learn how to apply Lean Startup principles, (Mission Model Canvas, Customer Development, and Agile Engineering) to discover and validate agency and user needs and to continually build iterative prototypes to test whether they understood the problem and solution. Teams take a hands-on approach requiring close engagement with officials in the U.S. Department of State and other civilian agencies.
History of Hacking Classes at JMU
Hacking for Diplomacy is one of a suite of courses that include Hacking for Defense” developed by the nonprofit H4Di in collaboration with Stanford University.
The goals of these courses are to allow students to develop a deep understanding of the problems and needs of government sponsors in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. In a short time, students rapidly iterate prototypes and produce solutions to sponsors’ needs. For universities, it keeps their programs attached to real-world problems and provides students with an experiential opportunity to become more effective in their chosen field, with a body of work to back it up. For government agencies, it allows problem sponsors to increase the speed at which their organization solves specific, mission-critical problems.
The program has garnered a lot of attention nationally, including publications such as The Washington Post and Wired magazine. JMU is the first university in the country to offer “Hacking for” courses to exclusively undergraduate students.