Written by: Gustav Plato

If someone asked you about how you are planning to improve your golf game, or lower your handicap, would you know?

  • Would you know where to turn?
  • How to find a coach?
  • How to see what you were doing?
  • Remember the feedback you received?
  • Could you visualize it?

Now you can easily answer these questions and many more related to improving your golf game with Golf Swing Exchange. Golf Swing Exchange or Golf Swing X is a new iiGrowth client. They are a client that we believe revolutionizes sports training by leveraging the new mobile platforms offered by Apple, Android, and Microsoft. Golf Swing X has a wealth of great ideas and innovations with respect to sports training and this is just the first.Just type Golfswingx.com into your URL and you will enter a community where golf players can meet golf pros. That is just the beginning. Golf Swing X has launched in advance of Valentine’s Day and spring golf with an offer that includes a full month of golf coaching and more for $98. With this program, GolfSwingX has put together a package that includes the following:

  • A complete swing analysis with Golf Swing X’s Director of Instruction, Stephen Moskal, who will provide a complete swing analysis.
  • Weekly follow-up lessons, once a week for one month, through the Golf Swing X online portal and your private web page.
  • 50% off on the next month of lessons.
  • Free membership to the Golf Swing X on-line portal.
  • Deals on selected golf equipment from GolfDom (Tyson’s Corner).

From our perspective, and we think yours when you take a look, Golf Swing X offers a new toolset that can help improve your game at breakthrough price points. Although the initial Valentine’s Day promotion is for the DC Metro area, the Golf Swing X service is an app available world-wide.
With spring just around the corner, Golf Swing X, is poised to help the casual and serious golf players make steady progress and gain a much improved understanding of the golf swing. All is documented in your account so that you can continue to learn and have a forum to store your ideas.

When we at iiGrowth are not working on strategy, finance, or operations, just look for us on the links with our new coaches at Golf Swing Exchange!

Written by: Gustav Plato

iiGrowth attended the European Council of the American Chambers of Commerce on Tuesday, October 20,2010 in Washington DC. As members of the European Chamber system (we are small business members in Latvia) it provided a great opportunity to meet with Chamber representatives from across Europe. This provided us an opportunity to speak with many of the 39 member countries (see http://www.amchamseurope.com/index.php?id=409) who attended the event.

We strongly encourage US companies entering the EU to join a local chamber. Many already do and one fact that was shared yesterday was that 60% of world’s GDP is represented by these countries and the US. If you need us to help you make connections just fill out the request on our Contacts page (http://iigrowth.com/contacts-2/). We look forward to seeing you at a future Chamber event.

Written by: Gustav Plato

Juris Lazdins, who has been a business advisor to iiGrowth for the last 3 years, has joined iiGrowth and will be the President of Government Services. Juris brings over 30 years of experience in contracts, finance, information technology, and international business development. Juris will guide the overall strategy and development of the Government services group which will provide services directly to the government and also advise and support companies serving the government market or seeking to break into the government market. Juris will oversee client as well as iiGrowth schedule strategy and development. This will include contract management services, as well as market planning, interactive marketing, and web design and development services.

Written by: Gustav Plato

The efforts to lead an international team in developing the Supply Chain Ventures Forum to be held in Washington DC from May 13-17, 2009 are filled with adventure and excitement.  More importantly the lessons learned to date, and the many more to come, have afforded us the knowledge base critical for developing international conferences and helping companies with market entry at a much lower cost threshold than they could get anywhere else.

The US Baltic Foundation asked iiGrowth to lead the development of the business program for 2009.  We are very excited in how things are shaping up.

  • Leadership Team: We have had a great team with help from the Department of Commerce and the three Baltic Countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  We have had active participation of Ministers and Ambassadors.
  • Customer Participation: We have been signing up some really great companies like Raytheon whose international experience in supply chain partnerships is world class.  On the other end of the spectrum we are working with small startups, such as MobileNow!, which is a provider of mobile parking solutions.  It is a very diverse group and this is what will really provide great value to this conference.
  • Alliance Partners: We have also received ideas from our friends at the Swedish Embassy and the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce who have been helping the Latvian Chamber of Commerce that iiGrowth co-founded.
  • Web 2.0 Technologies: In addition, the team is also leveraging web 2.0 technology to help promote the event through tools such as Facebook and Linked in, as well as signing up companies for matchmaking events.

The neat thing is that the team, the customers, the experience of our friends, and the use of technology has afforded us the insights and approach to develop a business model, where I believe we have taken the unnecessary non-value added costs of a typical international conference and matchmaking out of the picture.  That is pretty good!

In today’s economy, there is no other way to do it.

Written by: Gustav Plato

If you are an emerging company, or are still in the process of maturing your business model, you probably do not have a General Services Administration (GSA) schedule. This is understandable. As a start-up, your focus was on your business concept. However, as you mature you need to begin to consider implementing the tools that will help you be competitive. One such tool is a GSA contract schedule.

As an emerging company, you probably did not consider a schedule because you did not know what it is, or how it could help you. So let us begin with the basics, and let us answer what a GSA schedule is and why you may want to have one.

Last year, the government spent over $ 35,750,000,000 through GSA Schedules. That is a lot of zeros and a lot of buying power. Here is what you need to know; if a product or service is commercially available, there is a good chance that the GSA buys it for all government agencies.

GSA is a centralized procurement and property management agency for the Federal government and manages more than one-quarter of the government’s total procurement dollars, and oversees the management of $500 billion in federal assets, including more than 8,300 government-owned or leased buildings and 170,000 vehicles. Suffice it to say, keep track of what GSA is doing as part of understanding the Federal market and how it is managing its business.

There is a variety of GSA schedule contracts (87 are shown on their web site) including ones for information technology, small business, or transportation. GSA Schedule Contract presents an excellent opportunity for a service provider, manufacturer, dealer or distributor who bases his or her business on quality, feature-rich products/services and sound business practices. Having a GSA number is like being listed catalogue or directory that has ONLY contractors who have been certified as responsible vendors by the federal government. Most federal government departments/agencies now require that their procurement offices use authorized GSA contractors. In some cases, they are not allowed to purchase goods or services from those vendors who are not GSA Schedule holders.

Being and authorized GSA Schedule holder provides you with visibility, establishes your credentials, and certifies to the buyer that you will be a ‘responsible’ contractor. GSA Schedules are available to federal buyers across the nation, and in some cases, for certain commodity areas, state and local procurement offices can purchase goods and services using the GSA contracts as well. Therefore, if you own or direct a company, this is a proven strategy to generate new business opportunities and create jobs.

Generally, getting a GSA Schedule can be pretty straightforward. That is if you understand its rules and procedures and the pages of acquisition regulations that underlie the Contract. Next, we will look at some of the requirements and restrictions that GSA imposes on businesses to help you understand what you can do and what makes sense for your organization.

We hope that this will help allay your concerns about getting a Schedule and will encourage you to take the next step and investigate the rewarding possibilities of such a contract for your firm.

Written by: Gustav Plato

iiGrowth is rolling out its Business Value Navigator Service Line. We have listened to the voices of many business executives in recent weeks.  The questions, comments and concerns are very similar.

  • How bad will it get?
  • What should we be doing?
  • How should we manage our risks and investments?
  • Where can we get into trouble/where are we exposed?
  • How can we beat this thing?

iiGrowth has assembled a cadre of seasoned executives and business partners to help address these questions of how to navigate a downturn.  We have identified key areas that you must look at, in order to not only survive the financial crisis, but to also use it as a catalyst for accelerating your path towards being a great and highly profitable company.  The key areas that we will help you examine include the following:

  • Business Strategy & Leadership
  • Customer/Stakeholder Management
  • Financial, Investment, and Risk Strategy
  • Operational Innovation (Information Technology Leverage, Lean Processes)

iiGrowth’s experienced team will come in and rapidly triage any critical areas, augment the triage with a long term blueprint that sets forth objective and reachable targets, and an execution approach that achieves results in time-boxed 90-120 day cycles.  We tell you what you need to do in 4 months and we tell you what you will need to do next Monday.

Our approach is proven.  It will give you the foundation today to manage through this financial storm.  Don’t wait, too much is at stake.  In the coming days look for more details on our crisis management service line.


CEO iiGrowth LLC

Written by: Gustav Plato

There has been an explosion in social networking. The growth has been fueled and driven by individuals and their desire to connect with one another. The “enterprise” in the public or private sector is just beginning to explore how business and professional networks could be used for competitive advantage. What are the greatest areas of opportunity? What role could/should the enterprise have? How could business networks enhance the enterprise’s human capital? Would this be different in public versus private sector?

Gustav Plato, CEO of iiGrowth, and Aldo Bello, Chief Creative Officer, of Mind and Media are engaging public and private sector new media thought leaders on these questions and many more in some of the leading social networks including Facebook (see posts in Partnership for Public Service and the Collaboration Project) and LinkedIn (Questions and Answers), as well as a social networking tool, Ning.

Join the discussion!  If you are interested in participating in the discussion please go to these forums, our blogs, or contact us directly.

Written by: Gustav Plato

Newseum (www.newseum.org), located in Washington DC, is not just a museum about news.  From the time you enter the facility, you are greeted by warm and friendly people, knowledgeable about the entire facility.  There are 6 floors of interactivity.  As someone who visited the Idea Factory a few years back while in San Francisco, I have understood that the ultimate customer service moments are about having a memorable experience.  The newseum, does just that, and more.

From the Berlin wall to the Annenberg Theater the facility mesmerizes you with history and it also spawns new ideas.  The 4-D film, entitled, Witness: A 4-D Time Travel Adventure, connects you with historic events ( Battle of Lexington, Nellie Bly investigating a women’s insane asylum and Edward R. Murrow broadcasting from World War II London)  in a way that you feel that you are there, inside the event, with not only holographic images all around you, but with wind blowing in your hair, and moving seats!  WOW!

The Newseum is located at Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street, N.W., Washington, DC.

Written by: Gustav Plato

Greenversations is a blog that can be found on EPA’s front page. It is written by EPA employees as well as guests who want to share their thoughts with EPA.
It is an enterprise wide blog. It is not considered official policy, nor does EPA verify the accuracy of the posts. Nevertheless, it is about the work the agency does, the interests of its employees, and shared interests with the public at large.

The blog covers a variety of relevant and interesting environmental issues. For example recent posts include the following:

  • The use of canvas (reusable) versus plastic (throwaway) bags with a link to where you can get canvas bags
  • A question that has been posted to find out if people use plastic water bottles and why?
  • An informational post about community involvement in environmental decision making
  • A question about what it would take to change your driving habits (this received a lot of comments – are you surprised?)

This blog certainly looks like a step in the right direction.  It could be even more powerful with a community type forum built around it.

Creating a community type forum raises the level of participation and citizen democracy to a higher level. The forum offers the venue to move from the discussion/awareness phase to the action/implementation phase. Forums, can include a variety of tools that offer the ability to bring together citizens and public officials to work on problems and achieve results.

Written by: Gustav Plato

It seems inevitable that social networking and new media will permeate government.  None of us can predict how, but there is a way to speed this up.

In order to accellerate the process government departments and agencies should look to enabling a hybrid networking strategy.  A hybrid strategy is one where leadership sets the strategic intent and direction, top-down,  for the use of new media and support of social networking to enable the mission of the department.  This includes allowing for a groundswell of grassroots efforts by encouraging this.

The other part of the hybrid approach is for individuals to drive the participation (encouraged by the leadership) from a bottom-up perspective.  Hundreds or thousands of grass roots initiatives can be formed by individuals at all levels of government.  People who are interested in global warming, or health care, or technology can easily form social neworks on platforms such as Ning, Facebook, or LinkedIn.  These networks can use a variety of communications tools such as WIKIs, Blogs, instant messaging, etc. to enable and foster communications.  They already do and the numbers are growing.  Here a a few examples.

  • NAPA for example along with Mind and Media have created a site for collaboration (www.collaborationproject.org).
  • For example in the intelligence community, Intelink, includes document storage, bookmarking, photo sharing, instant messaging, video sharing, wiki (Intellipedia) and email all operating inside a secure fireweall.
  • LacCarling.ca is a social networking platform for government and industry to work together to communicate and advance the government’s service delivery. It has both a public and private view.

The point is that we do not need to micro-architect the outcomes, but allow for certain conditions and encourage certain behaviours.
Over the coming months, iiGrowth will look for examples of social networks and new media in government.  If you come across this blog, post what you have seen on the growth of collaborative government.

Written by: Gustav Plato

IBM is rapidly moving into the collaborative Web 2.0 world.  IBM has already been active in using customer facing Web 2.0 technologies to enable its customer facing business as shown in its Virtual Business Center housed in the 2nd Life Virtual World.  It has also announced building its own virtual world, called Metaverse, in several news articles including eWeek, Information Week, and ZDNET.  These articles also address “Bluepedia” which is IBM’s internal Wiki.

At IBM the Web 2.0 world is fostering an environment that promotes communication and information exchange within IBM.  As a former IBMer (from the late 90s to the early 00s under CEO Lou Gerstner) one of the more attractive elements of working there was our use of technology to simplify the back office operations (accounting, human resources, supply chain) so that we could focus on our clients and service delivery.   At the time, although we were hoteling, and attempting to work in a distributed environment, the social aspects of being an IBM employee were a challenge.  That is now changing.

IBM leadership, many of whom were there, back in the day, have recognized the benefits of social networking as applied to internal business environments.  Keep watching large innovative companies as you look for examples for how to enable your own emerging business.   Figuring out how to apply these Web 2.0 technologies to your own business, and business culture, cost effectively, will enable your firm to innovate and execute.

Written by: Gustav Plato

Are you behind the curve?

Network-centric innovation is one is one of the fastest moving business model disrupters in many years. What we are seeing is that the world’s largest firms, like IBM and Proctor and Gamble (P&G), as well as emerging and medium sized firms, are moving away from purely internally driven innovation. They are accelerating their efforts in forging new business models by expanding their use of external partners (individuals or companies). They are “plugging in to the network

iiGrowth leads Growth Oriented Workshop



Written by: Gustav Plato

iiGrowth, a co-founder of the Greenfire Strategy Consortium was a host to over 30 8(a) executives at the University Club in Washington DC on November 16, 2007. iiGrowth, along with various business partners developed this program to help emerging and mid-sized companies further understand the government marketplace and seize opportunities for growth.

The intimate nature of this session was well received and the participants were highly energized by keynote speaker, Dan Alexander, who spoke on the subject of how to land and leverage government contracts. The group also gained valuable lessons learned from the other panelists, Aldo Bello (CEO of Mind and Media) and Phong Mai(President and CEO).

For more information about this and other iiGrowth and GreenFire Strategy events, please contact Gustav Plato at gplato@iigrowth.com.

Written by: Gustav Plato

Teardrops to Rainbows

Social Entrepreneurship is rapidly gaining recognition in the United States as a new and much needed discipline to promote social change.   Social entrepreneurs are individuals who have recognized a social need and use the principles of entrepreneurship to form, organize, lead, and manage ventures whose vision and mission is to make social change. 

Teardrops to Rainbows (T2R) is led by social entrepreneur, Lois Lyons.  T2R recently celebrated its fifth anniversary.  Teardrops to Rainbows (T2R) is a recognized 501(c)(3), organization based in Fairfax, Virginia which provides support, services and financial assistance to area children with cancer and their families. T2R plays an active role in helping families through the many stages of treatment for a life-threatening illness.  (see www.teardropstorainbows.org for getting involved or supporting T2R) ,

The recent T2R fifth anniversary holiday dinner was one of the more special nights and events that iiGrowth founder, Gustav Plato, has had the privilege to attend.  It was a unique experience.  In attendance were hundreds of volunteers and supporters who have been working with T2R on a daily basis.  Together they have already built a wonderful and dynamic community.  As the next stage of growth for the T2R community, Lois Lyons, and the board of T2R, have engaged with iiGrowth to chart a course for the future.

T2R is working wonders by seizing opportunities others have missed, inventing new approaches, and creating solutions to change the approaches to those fighting cancer for the better.   iiGrowth will work with T2R using our idea to growth framework to look for the next generation of innovation and implement these solutions to help the T2R community. 

US Baltic Business Acellerator



Written by: Gustav Plato

iiGrowth, is teaming with the Center for Acellerating Innovation (President of the Center is Egils Milbergs) to evaluate the feasibility of a United States and Baltic Business Acellerator (USBBA).   iiGrowth and the Center of Acellerating Innovation will launch a web site by early 2008 to foster the rapid development of a US and Baltic economic business network.  USBBA is envisioned to provide a trans-Atlantic bridge to foster and promote trade between the United States and the Baltic Region. The USBBA would be a catalyst for launching collaborative business ventures between the United States and the Baltic Sea Region. It is envisioned that the USBBA will be comprised of virtual Web 2.0 collaborative environments and physical centers.

The USBBA ecosystem will include industry, investors, academic, and government partners. They will work together to foster the following:

· Economic matchmaking and partnership· Access to debt and equity financing· Grants to fund selected projects, joint ventures· Education and knowledge dissemination· Product and Service innovation

The initial targeted sectors for economic cooperation include the following:

· Environment and environmentally friendly products· Energy· High technology (nano-technologies, hardware, web, and software programming)· Consumer and Retail Products· Other Manufacturing

The USBBA will aid the Baltic countries in shifting their business portfolio from trade and agricultural to an emphasis on value added manufacturing (across all industry sectors) and strenghtening the econmic bond between the United States and the Baltic Region. For more about the USBBA project contact gplato@iigrowth.com.

Written by: Gustav Plato

Business ecosystems are economic communities that produce goods and services that have value to customers.  They are made up of interacting organizations such as the customers, producers and their business partners, financial institutions/venture capital, and government.  They also include academia.

As part of iiGrowth’s efforts in emergent thinking for our clients on how to evolve business ecosystems as a foundation for growth strategy, we visited with several academic instituions the week of 26 November, 2007.

iiGrowth had an opportunity to visit with some of the pre-eminent thought leaders that are devoted to new research and hands-on support to emerging and medium sized businesses.  Tremendous work is being done right here in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area by several leading higher education institutions including George Mason University, George Washington University, University of Maryland College Park, and University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Our site visits included the following highly respected individuals and centers:

Each of these individuals and institutions are thought leaders in their field with an emphasis on helping emerging and medium sized businesses both here in the United States and Internationally.  From Strategy to Execution, their experience and knowledge, helps entrepreneurs better understand how to plan and implement strategy on a rapid scale.  Importantly, they value relationships, networks, and collaboration as the cornerstone for maturing business ideas.  It is precisely because of this philosophy, that iiGrowth visited with these individuals.  They educate and coach current entrepreneurs and the new class of entrepreneurs being groomed at each of the higher learning institutions.

For more about how to apply leading edge thinking to your business or staff, contact iiGrowth and we can point you in the right direction.  You can contact iiGrowth at gplato@iigrowth.com.

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