Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2005 (Revised August 2006)

Lean Forward Media

by Teresa M. Amabile and Victoria Winston

Abstract

Jeff Norton and Michelle Crames, the co-founders of Lean Forward Media, face several options for producing the world's first interactive DVD film for children. Their vision is to build a company whose products simultaneously entertain children, engage them actively in the viewing process, and educate them. In the 18 months since they founded the company, the partners have secured the DVD rights to a popular children's book series, raised seed financing, closed their first round of venture financing, and produced a demo DVD that was well-received by investors, parents, and children. Having explored several options for producing their first full-length DVD, they must now decide between two basic approaches: creating a virtual studio and producing it themselves or partnering with an established studio that includes industry veterans who would manage the details of production. Crames and Norton know that using a full-service production company is an expensive option and fear that they might have to cut corners on the DVD project should they opt for that solution. Moreover, taking this route means that they would be less involved in much of the creative work that they both love, giving many of the creative tasks to others. Norton and Crames must make a decision quickly or they risk missing the significant opportunity of Christmas sales the following year. Which production option should they choose? If they use a full-service production company, which firm should they go with? Whichever option they choose, how should they manage the process?

Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Early Childhood Education; Games, Gaming, and Gambling; Entrepreneurship; Venture Capital; Management Practices and Processes; Risk Management; Partners and Partnerships; Opportunities; Creativity;

Citation:

Amabile, Teresa M., and Victoria Winston. "Lean Forward Media." Harvard Business School Case 805-063, January 2005. (Revised August 2006.)