Capitalizing on the New Normal

Capitalizing on the New Normal

As we detailed in our New Social Systems Deep Dive report, a growing mistrust of institutions is driving a seismic shift in values in the United States.  As Americans look beyond traditional values, a new set of ideals, beliefs and systems are starting to emerge.  

From the rise of atheism and non-traditional spirituality to the fragmentary nature of the modern workplace, we are seeing new practices and narratives develop around what is considered normal and acceptable.

Perhaps nowhere are these social changes more visible than in the shifting structure of the modern family. Single parent families, same sex parents, and communal “families” are more common than ever.  Researchers estimate that only 50% of children will grow up in households with two married adults who are their biological parents. This shift in family life has been clearly reflected in popular culture, as seen in mainstream television shows like Modern Family and The New Normal.  (See our timeline of Non Traditional Families in TV History). And as family life in America evolves, entrepreneurs are launching businesses that capitalize on serving the needs of the new-look American family.

Relations by Choice

Melanie Notkin is the founder and CEO of Savvy Auntie, a multi-platform media business that serves “cool aunts, great aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids.”

"Young parents are stretched to the limit managing their household income while taking care of their children,” says Notkin. “The rise of the Savvy Auntie, the caring aunt by relation or aunt by choice who generously offers time, financial support and gifts parents cannot afford, is an important - yet mostly unacknowledged - bright side to the transformation of the millennial American Family.”

With changing demographic and social patterns, the number of women who have not yet become mothers by the time they are 29 has risen dramatically. In 1976, only 31 percent of American women 25-29 were childless; by 2008, that number had risen to 46 percent.  And by 2010, nearly half of American women between the ages of 15-44 remained childless.

Seeing opportunity in this untapped market she dubbed PANKs (Professional Aunts, No Kids), Notkin launched SavvyAuntie.com in 2008.  In the four years since, the business has expanded to include a bestselling book, a national holiday (Auntie's Day), and a large and engaged social media following.

“The childless Savvy Auntie is helping to support the family in ways reminiscent of the communal village. Never before has the phrase ‘it takes a village’ been so right in the heart of the Zeitgeist of new social structures and the American family,” Notkin told us.

Designing a Family

While dynamics of existing families are changing, new families are also being fostered in unconventional ways.

Launched this month, Family By Design is an online community where new parenting partnerships can be established between single adults looking for a partner with whom to parent. The site offers guidance and a system for people - irrespective of gender or sexual orientation - to connect with each other and explore the possibility of having a baby together. A proprietary “parenting partner matching algorithm” helps to match couples, comparing member responses to sync up goals, values and parenting outlooks.

What’s driving this new paradigm? According to Darren Spedale, the founder of Family By Design, there are 5 million adults in the U.S. in their mid-30s and above who are single, childless, and still want to become parents. In addition, the Pew Foundation found in their 2010 nationwide poll of Millennials that while only 30% think that having a good marriage will be one of the most important things in their life, 52% believe that being a good parent will be one of the most important things - indicating a growing detachment between the concepts of marriage and parenthood.  

With evolving values driving opportunities to service potential and existing families in new fashions, we expect to see continued innovation in the marketplace. Do you have a great business idea to capitalize on these new types of family structures?  Let us know in the comments below.

sparks & honey is a next generation agency that helps brands synchronize with culture. Download our New Social Systems Report here.

‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

Surprising Science
  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Keep reading Show less

There are 5 eras in the universe's lifecycle. Right now, we're in the second era.

Astronomers find these five chapters to be a handy way of conceiving the universe's incredibly long lifespan.

Image based on logarithmic maps of the Universe put together by Princeton University researchers, and images produced by NASA based on observations made by their telescopes and roving spacecraft

Image source: Pablo Carlos Budassi
Surprising Science
  • We're in the middle, or thereabouts, of the universe's Stelliferous era.
  • If you think there's a lot going on out there now, the first era's drama makes things these days look pretty calm.
  • Scientists attempt to understand the past and present by bringing together the last couple of centuries' major schools of thought.
Keep reading Show less

Astrophysicists find unique "hot Jupiter" planet without clouds

A unique exoplanet without clouds or haze was found by astrophysicists from Harvard and Smithsonian.

Illustration of WASP-62b, the Jupiter-like planet without clouds or haze in its atmosphere.

Credit: M. Weiss/Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
Surprising Science
  • Astronomers from Harvard and Smithsonian find a very rare "hot Jupiter" exoplanet without clouds or haze.
  • Such planets were formed differently from others and offer unique research opportunities.
  • Only one other such exoplanet was found previously.
Keep reading Show less

Lair of giant predator worms from 20 million years ago found

Scientists discover burrows of giant predator worms that lived on the seafloor 20 million years ago.

Bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois)

Credit: Rickard Zerpe / Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Scientists in Taiwan find the lair of giant predator worms that inhabited the seafloor 20 million years ago.
  • The worm is possibly related to the modern bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois).
  • The creatures can reach several meters in length and famously ambush their pray.
Keep reading Show less
Politics & Current Affairs

FOSTA-SESTA: Have controversial sex trafficking acts done more harm than good?

The idea behind the law was simple: make it more difficult for online sex traffickers to find victims.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast