Steven Weiss

Steven Weiss is the founder of Disregard Previous Instructions.

Previously, Mr. Weiss was the founder and chairman of the Quest Futures Group on behalf of The Interpublic Group of Companies. The mission of Quest was to “Extend the frontiers of knowledge.” Quest launched scores of projects in the United States, Europe and Japan.  Steven held this post from 1988 through 2003.

Highlights of Quest Activities:

As you read about the Quest activities below, bear in mind that today, the issues explored by these projects are taken for granted. However, they were not on anyone’s radar at the time. Quest tackled them in their infancy, using techniques that at the time were experimental or non-existent.

1990 Retailing Research: In conjunction with Wirthlin Worldwide, a leading research company, the project endeavored to discover and articulate the emerging trends in retailing and understanding their impact on consumer behavior.

1990 Internet Center: Guided by Nick Donatiello of the Odyssey research company, the project studied emerging new media and technology’s impact on consumers.  The group examined new media’s impact on television programming. Quest/Odyssey issued eight comprehensive reports per year for six years, measuring online commerce, the impact of the DVR, the effect of new media on privacy and many more topics which, at the time, were not being done at this level of sophistication.

1991 Environmental Center: Created a Virtual Environmental Center with Professor Fred Turner of the University of Texas. Turner and his colleagues created a software package to provide a scorecard for corporations to assess their effectiveness in implementing environmentally sound procedures into their operations. Furthermore; the group put forth principles of coherent and constructive roles for corporations to assume on environmental policies.

1995 Consumer Decision Making: The center’s goal was that of identifying trends and monitoring the key factors driving change in the process of consumer decision making. Working with Gerald Zaltman, a professor at Harvard Business School, the team utilized Zaltman’s experimental Z-MET technique to delve into the consumer subconscious more deeply than ever before.

2001 Established Privacy Center: Working with Privaseek, a leading company in internet privacy, the project focused on an array of privacy issues concerning both consumers and businesses. The team developed proprietary data to further ensure privacy in an environment of growing data theft.

2001 Established Cultural Center: Quest, working with Creative Artists Agency, asked some of the leading lights in American culture what they saw in the current state of entertainment and the arts looking through their unique lens. Quest also asked them to look ahead to imagine what ideas and themes would be embedded in the culture in the near future. 

Artists included: Carrier Fisher, Ridley Scott and Jim Carey.

Quest members participating were: The Coca-Cola Company, McCann-Erickson, Lowe Lintas, Unilever, the United States Postal Service, Hallmark, The Walt Disney Company, L’Oreal, Draft Worldwide, Campell-Ewald, and The Boys &Girls Clubs of America.

Book:  Memos to the CEO from the Former CEO

This volume dealt with issues that were critical to business decision making. The “writer” is the previous CEO of a fictional company, who later returned to the company as Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors.

A partial listing of Quest Studies fielded by Steven Weiss:

Aging into Prosperity, the Rand Corporation

What is the Future of Advertising?

Understanding the MTV Generation,

The Changing Global Landscape,

Understanding Teen Consumer Segments and Trends,

Trust, American Style,

European Union Privacy Issues and Safe Harbor,

Music, The Metaphor of Life,

Spirituality Today,

What’s It All About?  (2001),

Strategic Visioning: A Seat of the Pants Approach,

Effects of Higher Education and Post Materialists Values,

America Responds to September 11,

It is All About Convergence: Confusion and Competition in the Tele-communications Industry,

Authenticity and the Consumer Experience,

Using Leading Social Indicators to Anticipate Consumer Trends,

Aging into Prosperity: How Dual Income Boomers Will Change,

How Consumers Read and Misread the World of Advertising.

Some of the participants in Quest projects include: The Rand Corporation, MIT Media Lab, Process of Change Laboratory and Global Business Network.  Professors at Harvard Business School, Stanford, MIT, Northwestern, University of Michigan, Wharton, University of Chicago, Texas University, Oxford University, Columbia University and many more.

Concomitant with his Quest activities, during the period 1980 – 2005, Mr. Weiss acted as Executive Consultant to the Chairman of Coca-Cola Japan. Working with the Chairman of The Coca-Cola Company, his mission was to work with a team to solve Coke’s most critical and challenging problems. Led by Mr. Weiss, the team helped the company explore extraordinary opportunities, manage and sustain growth and maximize revenues. These efforts resulted in significant impact on the global growth of The Coca-Cola Company.

Prior to founding Quest, Mr. Weiss served at McCann-Erickson as Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning, on the worldwide Coca-Cola account. He was a member of a team that created advertising campaigns including “C oke is It” and “Just for the taste of it”. He was also a member of the team that created Coca-Cola, Sprite and Georgia Coffee advertising in Japan. He developed marketing strategies for Coca-Cola projects throughout Japan.

Earlier, Mr. Weiss headed Interpublic Group of Companies’ Strategy Workshop as Executive Vice President. Clients called on the Strategy Workshop, and in turn, the workshop identified high-potential market needs and created frameworks and tools to exploit these opportunities. This resulted in the creation of the “Bank of the Future” for Citibank and guided Philips on how to compete against rival Sony.  As Senior Vice President, he was also in charge of Interpublic's strategic planning.  In that position he explored companies throughout Silicon Valley and in doing so created a vision for Interpublic of what advertising agencies would look like in the future.

Steven Weiss is currently a consultant to The Coca-Cola Company and gives speeches to multi-nationals and business schools all over the world.

Steven Weiss has written extensively on such topics as:

Corporate Responsibility and the Bottom Line,

Building Sustainable Enterprises and Unlimited Profits

How to Make Money in the Creative Age;

Disregard Previous Instructions,

Trust and the Bottom Line,

The Experience Economy,

Hyper competition.

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