The Research Department of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation was looking for a new way for academics to quickly and easily share research on important topics and key terms in the growing field of entrepreneurship. The goal was to bring together ideas, research, terminology, and commentary in a way that could also be ultimately shared with the public.
“We wanted to establish a taxonomy of terms in entrepreneurship,” said Keith Mays, the Director of Digital Strategy for the Communications Department at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. “We envisioned a kind of Wikipedia of terms for academics to use, that we could share with the public.”
AJi Software partnered with Keith to design and deliver an online content-sharing system that allowed researchers to dive down to 3 different levels of information on key terms in entrepreneurship—for example, “venture capital”:
- 1st level—high-level definition, for the layman
- 2nd level—more in-depth definition, for academics
- 3rd level—catalog the “gold standard” research on the topic
Because the functionality of the tool was so unique, AJi worked with Mays’ team to come up with a totally new concept for design, using an iterative process—drafting 1 version at a time, then testing the user functionality.
“This tool was so different, that we simply didn’t have an easy model to replicate or work from,” Mays said. “So we had to figure it out, using an agile approach.”
After 10 months of development, the “State of Field” tool launched in May 2014. Ultimately, Mays would like for the public to be able to easily view and use the tool.
“There is a very narrow field of research on entrepreneurship,” Mays said. “We’re hoping that a broader audience will take advantage of it.”
About the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation was founded in the mid-1960’s to help individuals attain economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. The organization is a thought leader in the area of entrepreneurship. For more information visit: http://kauffman.org
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