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John Stephen Veitch was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1942. He attended Otago Boys' High School, and Dunedin Teachers College, before beginning a first career as a teacher.
His first business was a coffee bar and games room. John was intensely interested in business by now. He began his journal, and later started business studies at Massey University. His interest in better business developed into an extended study of innovation.
"It's clear that innovation is a driving force in successful companies because it gives them a way to have a unique product in the market place," says Mr Veitch. He studied the innovation myths in NZ and the received wisdom on innovation from the USA. Mr Veitch believes that most of the people writing about innovation don't understand it. Mr Veitch has been involved in a number of innovative ventures, the website "New Zealand Dances" (Now closed) was one example.
Mr Veitch now runs a successful Innovation Network on Ryze. This network has produced several business opportunities but the right mix of people and opportunity is still elusive.
In early 2006 Mr Veitch initiated and largely built an Innovation Wiki which is attracting a good number of visitors, mostly from the USA. There are now 20 registered editors of that space.
2008: Mr Veitch is the owner and developer of the Open Future web site.
John Veitch completed a degree in Business Studies at Massey University and worked for five years as a business consultant in Invercargill. The isolation of managers and decision makers is their greatest problem.
"Social networks on the Internet can break the sense of isolation, many business owners feel. The trick of successful networking is to find a productive group of people. That depends almost entirely on the group leader. It takes time but good leaders eventually attract quality group members."
For 36 years Mr Veitch has kept a journal. This is a very useful tool for giving you long term memory you can trust. A journal is valuable to help you examine your own life. Even so journals are often badly misused both by the people who write them and by the people who often insist they should be written.
Since 1996 the main focus has been on self development and learning a new specialist knowledge as an Internet Consultant. In the last three years Mr Veitch has focused on understanding Ryze, a business/social network that is not what the owner expected, and is not what most users expect either. "Ryze seems to have a life of it's own, and exactly what it is and how it should best be used is still in doubt. We can't be sure where that interest will lead. More New Zealand members of Ryze would be desirable."
The key features of the last year have been the growth of business blogging, and the increasing use of Wiki.
The production of training courses from developing a course outline to producing the resources staff trainers might use. Mr Veitch has a special interest in unlocking the interest, knowledge and hidden talents of people.
Developing a culture that supports innovation is critical to the success of most firms. There is no pill or capital injection or seminar that will produce that change within a company. It will help to run a series of workshops and seminars on the topic and to get everyone keeping appropriate records. It will help if people understand that innovation is a team effort and that good leadership is something that every member of the team contributes towards.
"I no longer believe the myth of the innovative New Zealander. Everyone is capable of being innovative, but innovative thinking is always discouraged. Every new idea starts out vague, weak and fragile. Those ideas are easily killed. Those with notions of a better way need to be nourished. Innovators in NZ are usually completely ignored. If they are lucky they are laughed at. Seldom does anyone help. People don't understand the process of innovation and how long it takes to get it right."
There is a wealth of experience and good sense available free on the Internet itself. Mr Veitch was fully involved as a web site developer from 1996 to 2000. There was much to learn, many of the lessons were both personally and financially painful. Basic mistakes are still being repeated over and over. Mr Veitch stepped aside from the Internet for a year from 2001 until early 2002, to take stock, to get a larger view of what was happening, and to find some new directions. "Adapt to Experience" is the result of that work. If you or your board of directors want a packaged solution or specific training, Mr Veitch may be an excellent source of advice.
In 2003 Mr Veitch participated in a series of discussions to help develop a statement from "civil society in New Zealand" for the World Summit on the Information Society. Out of that developed an interest in the way people are actually using the Internet, and some Internet use research in the suburb of Bryndwr, Christchurch
Mr Veitch has been advocating a peer to peer Internet since 1997. He achieved success with NZ Dances by driving that idea. (Over 700 people contributed to that site.) Now with Web 2.0 tools becoming available it's easier and easier to make that a reality.
In the last four years Mr Veitch has been discovering the possibilities of social networking as a business tool. People who have regularly participated on Ryze over three years have improved their ability to write well to support arguments, and to be effective leaders.
Mr Veitch has become an expert on the process of learning from what you are currently doing. "Adapt to Experience" is entirely based on that ideal. Every member of your business, team, club or society, needs to become both a knowledge gatherer and a data source for others. Knowledge is only useful when the hard work of "thinking it into use" has been done. Commonly that process is called learning. Many of us in the modern world have jobs where we "learn ourselves a living".
In January 2008, a new web site devoted to continuous learning and innovation by engaging with other people online was opened. Open Future Limited is a company focused in training individuals and organizations on the effective use of online tools. There are currently two versions of the site. International, and New Zealand, with an open invitation to other developers to establish versions in other languages and in other countries.
Those basic suggestions will prepare staff with the basic knowledge required to negotiate through the vast changes in the technical, business, social and political environment that we are all faced with.