• Case Study

TVI

TVI had no shortage of big ideas, but they needed a reliable way to evaluate those ideas and turn them into new business opportunities.

Led by founder Mahdad Taheri, TVI focuses mainly on the bread-and-butter business of their client-based media and marketing work, but Taheri always knew their team had the creativity necessary to be more than a design and development group. He wanted to go beyond kicking around big ideas and start chasing them.

To usefully evaluate his team’s ideas, Taheri wanted to implement a repeatable ideation process—so he turned to Kindling.

Building an Iterative Ideation Process

Turning a successful media and design agency into an incubator didn’t have to mean hiring new people or starting a second team. After all, the I in TVI stands for Innovation! Having hired an innovatively-minded team, Taheri’s first step was to work through, with his existing employees, determining the kind of process that would serve their needs as an organization.

The team worked together to describe the features and qualities of an iterative ideation process that would best take advantage of their skillsets. They ended up developing and agreeing on a repeatable process of generating and then quickly vetting ideas according to their various areas of expertise to find the ones that had growth potential.

Baking Kindling In

For the process to work, it had to live inside software where the team could canonically collect and programmatically discuss ideas. Because Kindling’s discussion-based approach to innovation includes customizable workflows, media supplements, and the ability to vote and volunteer, it was ideal for a repeatable process that includes evaluating ideas according to specific experts’ areas of focus.

Given clear context and a TVI-specific workflow, the team could use Kindling to contribute ideas, solicit reactions and responses from coworkers, and then move the idea through several successive rounds of review from designated experts, all within public view of the whole team. It was the iterative process, represented as software.

Once TVI had chosen and implemented Kindling as their platform, it didn’t take long to find their first great idea: BubbleBall.

“Right at the beginning, Kindling is the fundamental opening door to everything we do in terms of innovation. Bubbleball was our first success with Kindling. It came a lot sooner than we expected, it was something that Kindling allowed us to be prepared for.”—Mahdad Taheri, Founder, TVI & Bubbleball

BubbleBall and the “Startup Funnel”

Taheri, who wrote his Masters thesis about creating the next major league American sport, came across bubble soccer—a funny version of soccer played by people wearing huge inflatable bumper balls—on the internet one Sunday, and shared the video in TVI’s Kindling.

While he had originally slotted the post under the Fun category for team activity ideas, the rest of TVI’s team suggested he move it to the New Business category, where it quickly picked up speed. With some quick market research, a cursory look at the feasibility of importing or manufacturing the Bubbles, and a brainstorm for branding, BubbleBall was born.

It was the end result of what Taheri and his team call their “startup funnel”—a process for creating new businesses through their iterative ideation process. From the inception of the business, the team would take over the new company as a spun-off operation separate from TVI proper. Now, the intention was to establish the business, and then the TVI team would repeat the process, looking for their next great idea.

But that wasn’t all for Kindling and BubbleBall. Like any other company, BubbleBall needs to innovate and iterate to stay competitive as they establish BubbleBall as the next major American sport—but this time, they’re starting with their innovation platform already chosen.