John Pettigrew








By preference I am a sceptic and a critical thinker. For much of my career my role has been to evaluate business plans and investment proposals, and to tease out not just the great potential (which is always mentioned), but also the problems and uncertainties that might  have been ignored. On the other side of the fence, I have helped to develop business plans, budgets, balance sheet restructurings, loan and grant applications, research proposals, and licensing agreements.

Not everyone wants their assumptions challenged, or their spreadsheets analysed, or their report criticised. If you do, I might be able to help. If we are not a good match, that’s fine too.

I have been exposed to the essentials of a wide range of businesses, including engineering, horticulture, tourist accommodation, wine growing, and food manufacture. I am not an expert on any of these and you might need to explain the details, but I will probably understand where you are coming from.

I am proud to be more of a fox than a hedgehog.

A hedgehog is an in-depth expert who knows one big thing, and expresses it simply and confidently.  A fox knows many things, and none in as much depth. But the fox also sees the complexities, ambiguities, and paradoxes. Foxes are skeptical about grand theories and diffident in their forecasts. They are more likely to say ‘maybe’, and ‘on the other hand’.

Foxes are likely to connect and integrate … and foxes tend to make more accurate predictions. Both foxes and hedgehogs are needed on any significant project.

I prefer to work on projects that need the lateral and integrative thinking of the fox, where subject matter experts can provide deep specialised knowledge when needed.

I have worked as a sole trader and as an employee, and in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. Most of my career has been providing advice to small to medium sized businesses, mainly in the areas of finance, marketing, and exporting. I have also, commercially, made 16mm films, recorded oral history interviews, developed software,  presented training courses, and written magazine articles.

Employers have included NZ Post Office, Felt and Textiles Ltd (Feltex), Development Finance Corporation / DFC Ltd, Industry NZ, NZ Trade and Enterprise. Clients have included Department for Courts, Archives NZ, Wellington City Council, NZ Fire Service, Department of Conservation, Victoria University of Wellington, and a number of private sector businesses.

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