Hacking 4 Oceans provides students the opportunity to learn how to work with nonprofits, startups, local industries, governmental and other organizations to better address ocean challenges. This semester-long course forgoes traditional practices which slow decision-making and impede rapid innovation and provides a proven platform to develop testable solution prototypes in weeks, not months or years.

Our Mission

The course provides student teams with a deep understanding of selected problems and potential solutions which might be arrayed against them. Using the Lean LaunchPad methodology the course encourages student teams to:
  • Solve complex real-world problems
  • Rapidly iterate solutions while searching for product-market fit
  • Understand all stakeholders, roll-out issues, costs, resources, and ultimate mission value
  • Deliver minimum viable products matching a problem sponsor’s needs in a narrow window.
  • Produce a repeatable model which can launch other potential solutions


This is a team-based course and has limited enrollment. Participation is by individual or teams of four students from any college, department, or program. Working and studying will be done in teams. There are three ways to join the course: as an individual, as a team, or as a team/individual with your own problem.
  • Exceptions for team size and external members will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Students learn how to:


Validate and solve problems through an entrepreneurial lens by conducting weekly Beneficiary Interviews


Employ tools such as the Mission Model Canvas (MMC) and the Value Proposition Canvas (VPC)


Funds may be available for you to experiment, test, and build your solution prototype.


Apply innovative and iterative approaches such as the Lean Launchpad methodology to local, state, private, federal agencies, and NGO problems

Problem Statement

  • Oceans cover more than ⅔ of our Earth’s surface.

  • They are home to millions of species and play an enormous role in regulating our climate and water cycle.

  • Our oceans face tremendous disruptions that will impact our future generations of humanity.