Solving national security problems by collaborating with partners from the academic and venture communities.

The Collaboration Portfolio increases the intellectual diversity of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) by bringing together innovators from defense, academia, and the venture community to solve national security problems. The programs within the Collaboration Portfolio provide opportunities for service members to engage with non-traditional partners to better understand problems and discover new solutions.

NSIN’s Collaboration Portfolio programs include:

Hacking for Defense (H4D)

H4D pairs DoD end users with top university students for collaborative problem-solving over the course of an academic semester. Students work to develop a minimal viable product solution to improve the real-world problems of service members that can be adopted by the DoD end users.


Hacks offers students, faculty, and early-stage ventures a 48-hour period to engage in collaborative problem-solving with DoD sponsors. NSIN will provide up to $90K in total awards to winning teams to further develop their concepts.


Source provides a virtual platform of crowd-sourced ideas that DoD leaders can interact with in the form of online innovation challenges. Winning ideas have the opportunity to be developed into full-scale prototypes through the MD5 Maker program.


Bootcamp is a 4-day course for 30 service members covering tools for innovation that improve problem-solving skills and idea generation and testing.

The course includes lessons on Human-Centered Design (HCD), Lean LaunchPad (LLP), Mission Model Canvas (MMC) and Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Bootcamp concludes with teams pitching an MMC and MVP to a command-level sponsor.