The Kauffman Foundation has engaged the Lab to develop a research roadmap that will guide the foundation’s investments in entrepreneurship research. Scheduled to be delivered in mid-November, this work consists of training the Kauffman staff in new approaches and frameworks to developing entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems within regions.
These ecosystems operate at multiple levels, and to understand them entrepreneurial research should be expanded to include research outside of the traditional disciplines of economics and management. So, for example, we anticipate that the foundation will expand its research portfolio to include disciplines such as psychology, social psychology and cultural anthropology.
We can also expect that the roadmap will emphasize the emerging role of teams and networks in the entrepreneurial enterprise. In the past, a real research has focused heavily on individuals and firms. The research has generally skipped over an important dynamic: the formation and management of entrepreneurial teams.
In addition, the roadmap carries some implications for the evolving role of philanthropy in designing and guiding these ecosystems. To be successful, foundations will need become more of an active partner in the process of relentless experimentation to learn how to develop these ecosystems productively.
A third major shift that is likely to be embodied in the roadmap involves the development of a translational research model for entrepreneurial research. Beginning over a decade ago, the National Institutes of Health developed a model of translational research to connect basic research to the bedside. Kauffman aspires to develop a similar approach that ties basic research programs and policies.