Ross Honeywill

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Dr Ross Honeywill is an Australian social scientist, consumer strategist, and internationally published author.[1]

An Associate Professor (adjunct) at the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, Dr Honeywill specialises in desire economics, consumer research, social equity, and the understanding and application of value theory. He is CEO of the NEO Group, and Director of the Centre for Social Economics, an international think-tank and strategy consultancy based in Australia. He has a PhD from the University of Tasmania.

Creator of the NEO typology - a population classification providing a unique measure of high-value consumption[2] - his work is predominantly applied in North America, Australia and Asia.

He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his conceptual artist and writer wife, Dr Greer Honeywill.[3]

Ross Honeywill.


Ross Honeywill has been researching social patterns for more than 20 years. In 1997 professional services giant KPMG bought his Values Bank Research Centre and renamed it the Centre for Consumer Behaviour with Honeywill at the helm. He became an internationally recognized authority on the impact of a rapidly changing social fabric through his leadership role as a director at KPMG (Asia Pacific) between 1997 and 2001.[4] Prior to KPMG Dr Honeywill was a research director and business strategist.[5] Before that, he worked as a retail manager for national chains and in arts administration, including general manager of the Queensland Ballet at age 21.[6]

Dr Honeywill is currently Director at the Centre for Social Economics, a think-tank and management consultancy in Australia. He is also CEO of the NEO Group, operationalising the NEO typology in North America. Dr Honeywill has advised global and national brands including Qantas, David Jones, Lexus, Sony, Telstra, Westpac Broking, Moët-Hennessy, National Australia Bank, Yahoo!, Fosters, Macquarie Bank, Energex, TXU Energy, among others.[7]


Ross Honeywill's books have been published on three continents. The author of and contributor to business and social science books, as well as author of a number of mainstream books, his titles include NEO Power, Lamarck's Evolution and Wasted. The critically acclaimed Lamarck's Evolution was launched by Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty and Dr John Long at the 2008 Melbourne Writers Festival.[8] In 2011, Wasted was shortlisted in Australia for the Ned Kelly Award for true crime writing and is currently under development as a major motion picture. The business/management book, One Hundred Thirteen Million Markets of One, is an Amazon top 100 bestseller.

  • 2001: I-Cons: the essential guide to winning and keeping high-value customers (with Verity Byth) Random House
  • 2004: (Chinese edition) I-Cons: the essential guide to winning and keeping high-value customers (with Verity Byth) Citic Publishing, Mainland China
  • 2006: NEO Power: how the new economic order is changing the way we live, work and play (with Verity Byth) Scribe Publications
  • 2008: Managing the Innovation Faultline - chapter in Inside the Innovation Matrix (with Verity Byth) Australian Business Foundation
  • 2008: Lamarck's Evolution: two centuries of genius and jealousy. Pier 9 (a Murdoch Books imprint)
  • 2010: Wasted: the true story of Jim McNeil, violent criminal and brilliant playwright. Viking (a Penguin imprint)
  • 2012: One Hundred Thirteen Million Markets of One: How the New Economic Order can remake the American economy (with Chris Norton) Fingerprint, USA
  • 2014: It's Not a Glass Ceiling; It's a Masculine Fault Line - chapter in Gender Discrimination and Inequality, The Spinney Press - editor J Healey
  • 2015: The Man Problem: Destructive Masculinity in Western Culture, Palgrave Macmillan (New York)
  • 2016: Angel's Trumpet A novel (recipient of Arts Tasmania grant for 2014) - under construction

Journals & Papers[edit]


Social Science[edit]

Dr Honeywill is best known for his development of the NEO social classification and its implications for the marketplace, workplace, community and politics in the 21st century.[9] To place this in a scientific context, all the simple and complex questions had been answered by the second half of the 20th century - the general theory of relativity, quantum physics, biological evolution, molecular genetics and the rest. And yet the most complex feature of the universe remained unexplained. And that was human behavior and what underpins it; what directs it.[10]

NEOs, an acronym for New Economic Order, are 24 per cent of the population but account for 54 per cent of all discretionary spending.

Dr Honeywill combined 64 attitudinal, behavioral and spending factors to identify the mindset underpinning the consumers with both (a) the highest social intelligence; and (b) the highest spending behavior.[11]

Social Economics[edit]

Social economics is the study of the social causes and consequences of economic behaviour. In other words, social economics investigates the relationships between the economy and society. Social economists address such questions as, how do social attitudes and social intelligence affect behavioural economic outcomes? Social economic theories do not move in lockstep with those of orthodox schools of economics, which often make the assumption that actors are self-interested and can rationally make decisions. It often takes into account subject matter outside of what mainstream economics focuses on, including the effect of social attitudes on consumption and wealth.[12]

Social Intelligence[edit]

Dr Honeywill is a researcher of social intelligence. Social intelligence describes the exclusively human capacity to use very large brains to effectively navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments. A social intelligence quotient or SQ is an aggregated measure of self and social awareness, evolved social beliefs and attitudes, and a capacity and appetite to manage complex social change. A person with a high SQ is no better or worse than someone with a low SQ, they just have different attitudes, hopes, interests and desires.[13] The social intelligence quotient is a statistical abstraction similar to the ‘standard score’ approach used in IQ tests with a mean of 100. Scores of 140 or above are considered to be very high. Honeywill's NEOs have an average SQ of 140.[14] Unlike the standard IQ test however it is not a fixed model. It leans more to Piaget's theory that intelligence is not a fixed attribute but a complex hierarchy of information-processing skills underlying an adaptive equilibrium between the individual and the environment.[15] An individual can therefore change their SQ by altering their attitudes and behaviour in response to their complex social environment.

History & Philosophy of Science[edit]

Ross Honeywill is also well known for his work on Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck, an 18th-century science philosopher who, pre-dating Charles Darwin by 50 years, created the first comprehensive theory of evolution.[16] Honeywill, citing the work of Dr Edward J. Steele, created a concept he called meta-lamarckism bringing together the best of both Darwinism and Lamarckism.

According to Dr Honeywill's work on Steele, forces outside DNA are at work determining which and why different genes are turned on or off. Meta-Lamarckism has RNA collecting changes from the soma (body cells) and not only taking them back to the germline (sex cells) but also translating them into DNA language. Characteristics acquired during a lifetime are being transcribed back into DNA.[17]

Reflecting on Steele's work and the visceral reaction it produced among some scientific communities, Dr Honeywill stresses that the real issue is whether a modern, well supported Lamarckian theory can be devised, consistent with well-documented parts of modern molecular genetics, and be able to be articulated with a surviving core of Darwinian natural selection. A kind of meta-Lamarckism that combines the best of both Lamarck and Darwin.[18] One outcome of this work was the publication in 2008 of Lamarck's Evolution: two centuries of genius and jealousy.

Social Philosophy & Gender Equity[edit]

Ross Honeywill developed a social philosophy of masculine madness threatening the human race:[19] He contends that underpinning the dominant masculinity lays a dangerous feature unique to men – masculine madness. All men, ordinary and exceptional men, beasts and angels, share a potential for acts of unimaginable harm. This is the normality of evil. Masculine madness is not a pathological condition, not madness or insanity in the traditional or psychiatric sense, it is the masculine potential for an eruptive evil in the normality of the everyday. While this potential for masculine madness resides in every man, they decide whether or not to succumb. They choose, consciously and unconsciously. Those who resist choose to be on the side of the angels. The remainder choose the beast, allowing it to awaken and wreak havoc, frequently on those they most love.[20]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Roy Morgan Research
  3. ^
  4. ^ Schmidt, Lucinda, Sydney Morning Herald - Wednesday 15 September 2010.
  5. ^
  6. ^ The Age newspaper - 15 September 2010
  7. ^ Social Intelligence Lab
  8. ^
  9. ^ Mercury Saturday Magazine - 6 November 2010
  10. ^ John Gribbin. 'Deep Simplicity: bringing order to chaos and complexity'. Random House, New York. 2004
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Gould, Stephen J. (2002). The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Harvard: Belknap Harvard
  17. ^ Dr John Schuster - Glee Books launch of Lamarck's Evolution - October 2008
  18. ^ Tom Frame(bishop), Evolution in the Antipodes: Charles Darwin and Australia. Cambridge University Press. 2009
  19. ^
  20. ^

External links[edit]