Team MAGIC, or “The Magicians” (as they are known within Alley) found themselves with a rare opportunity to link their in-person retreat with the American Alliance of Museums yearly conference in New Orleans. Team Magic has worked on many museum projects and a few members of the team were speaking at the conference last year. So, instead of choosing a random city somewhere in the continental United States of America, the Magicians set their sites on the birthplace of jazz.
Start Us Up Now: America’s New Business Plan is an initiative of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City-based philanthropy that works in the fields of education and entrepreneurship. The Start Us Up Now project and site strive to inform local, state, and federal decision-makers on policy that will create opportunities for entrepreneurs and new businesses to thrive. Kauffman and Alley worked together to rapidly design and launch a site to disseminate the particulars of the policy plan, support a targeted communications campaign in several states, and garner support from organizations who can join the Start Us Up Now coalition through the site.
Visitors can learn about policy ideas at the federal level — such as actions that could be taken by the White House, Congressional Research Services and General Accountability Office (GAO), and the Small Business Administration (SBA) — as well as proposals for states and municipalities. The streamlined site describes the initiative, displays a growing list of coalition members, and provides methods for organizations to join or individuals to sign up for Start Us Up Now communications.
From idea to launch, Alley and Kauffman had less than a month to design and develop the site. To meet the deadline, we shared the work between two agile production teams — handling the design, back end, and front end work in parallel. We also worked very closely with the Kauffman Public Affairs and Entrepreneurship program teams to refine the scope of the project to fit the timeline, prioritizing the must-haves and identifying which features could be added after the initial launch (which has already been happening). The result is a simple but effective user experience that puts just the right amount of information in front of the right people.
The site has already allowed the initiative to expand greatly, tripling the number of coalition members in just a few weeks. As Start Us Up Now continues to grow, we are excited to help it achieve its goals, now and in the future!