[Paleopsych] The DaVinci Institute: Ten Key Trends for Women in 2005 and Beyond

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Ten Key Trends for Women in 2005 and Beyond

                 Ten Key Trends for Women in 2005 and Beyond
    By Thomas Frey, Executive Director of the DaVinci Institute

    January 23, 2005

    As people move through life, they search for signposts along the way.
    They search for those rare pieces of intelligence that give them a
    gut-level feeling of confidence about what to do next. Todays women
    are particularly adept at reading these signposts, which range from
    magazine articles, to movies, to conversations with a people they
    trust. They trust their instincts and arent afraid to make critical

    Women today are bold and confident, unapologetic for who they are and
    the things they like, and vast in their ability to influence nearly
    every aspect of modern life.

    In spite of the heavy load that most women shoulder, and the torrid
    pace of living, the bad years are now past, and a resurgence of hope
    seems to be building. With guarded smiles reacting to each new piece
    of positive news, they listen intently for the rhythm of hope that
    beats continuously in their lives.

    Women create our culture. They give birth to each new generation and
    heavily influence nearly every major decision being made today. Its
    critically important that we pay close attention to the drivers that
    are influencing the emerging new thinking class of bright articulate
    women wanting to make a difference in todays world.
     1. The Emerging New Value Set Unlike the past generation of baby boom
        women with their idealistic dreams, the torch has been passed to a
        younger generation who views the world quite differently. While
        they still dream of finding the perfect relationship, nearly
        three-quarters think marriage should be for life, they are quick
        to take action when change is needed. Upwards of 75% of all
        divorces are initiated by women. They know the safety nets if
        things go wrong.
        Buoyed by strong female role models like Julia Roberts, Nicole
        Kidman, and Uma Thurman in movies like Erin Brockovich, Cold
        Mountain, and Kill Bill has spawned a generation of powerful
        ambitious women, noble in their purpose, driven to succeed. They
        need to feel real, genuine and authentic, while at the same time,
        a new class of elegance is returning to the workplace with
        classier styles and appearance signaling the end of the survival
        years. This new woman is a member of 3-5 book clubs, is more
        fiscally conservative, enjoys going to martini bars, and is
        looking for their next date on Match.com.
     2. Virtual Families - The new reality is that more people today are
        part of second marriages than first marriages. With a growing
        number of people living in transitional relationships, multiple
        divorces, and children from multiple parent combinations, the
        social fabric has evolved into a culture of mixed parenting,
        confusing lines of authority, distributed and often shifting
        responsibilities resulting in an often-confused sense of ethics
        and morality. By default, mothers are working more and more as
        arbiter of the truth, sorting through competing value sets to make
        the final call.
        People are buying houses sized for "peak demand" times when all of
        their virtual family members are home. With the relentless pace of
        work, family, and school, kids often find themselves in a constant
        state of movement, shifting from parent one, to parent two, to
        grand parents, to friends, to sitters. This lack of permanence
        manifests itself in a number of ways with kids carrying the "need
        to move on" attitude with them throughout the rest of their lives,
        but also has prepared them for living in the virtual world
        stemming from their virtual childhood.
     3. Our Gender-Confused Nation - Traditional distinctions between men
        and women are becoming blurred. While some are blaming the
        "gender-bender" effect of natural and synthetic hormones being
        found in increasing levels in our water supplies, men today are
        far less likely to exude the rugged demeanor of John Wayne. Men
        are becoming more feminized as they take an active role in
        parenting, become more fashion-oriented and develop beauty
        regimes, including opting for plastic surgery.
        Women continue to make inroads into many traditionally "male"
        areas of employment and are earning more. There are also more
        women entering tertiary education, and are marrying later or
        staying single. Womens drinking habits have radically changed too.
        In England, their consumption of alcohol had increased by almost
        27% between 1998 and 2003.
     4. Women Viewed through the Cyberporn Lens Nothing triggers the inner
        Jekyll and Hyde personalities in men like pornography, and the
        Internets cyberporn culture is stoking the testosterone fires.
        Its become the "crack cocaine" of sexual addiction. Men become
        lost in this artificial world that feeds them with delusional
        fantasies that women serve no greater purpose than to feed their
        every desire. New forms of sexual compulsiveness are creating
        chaos with 15% developing dysfunctional sexual behaviors that will
        eventually cause a train wreck in their lives.
        The mystery of female sexuality has long disappeared and the
        innocence of first love has been replaced with a drive to satisfy
        Neanderthal-like urges, with little sensitivity expressed for the
        female partner.  This distorted view of womens desire is causing a
        degradation of partner relationships and the disassociation of sex
        with intimacy. Training classes for coping with the emerging
        cyberporn males will be needed to help women develop techniques
        for uncloaking the true deviants and separating them from their
     5. Quiet Demand for the Gritty Truth Nobody likes a phony and in the
        process of uncovering phony aspects of society, women are quietly
        peeling away the onion layers to uncover all the gritty truth
        about the world. Shows like MTV Road Rules and Survivor are good
        at revealing the raw side of human nature, giving people realistic
        views of how the world works.
        The blogger world is also giving rise to people who are genuine
        and authentic, speaking from the heart rather than in the
        sanitized conversational tones of media past. The marketing world
        has picked up on this trend with companies like Apple Computers
        and Levi using real customers to strip away the gloss and connect
        with their customers on a personal level.
     6. The Social Obligation to "Live the Life" and "Do Your Part" The
        Baby Boom generation believed in the big dreams, grandiose and
        idealistic, shoot for the stars and become one in the process.
        Todays generation believes in living the life, often volunteering
        and making donations to "things that matter". In short, women are
        very invested in "doing their part".
        Women are very concerned about the world around us and are taking
        it upon themselves to make some changes. A full 30% of the people
        working on Habitat for Humanities projects are women. They
        comprise 60% of the hybrid car market, tend to stay away from
        luxury brands like Gucci and Rolex, are more likely to "turn off
        the lights", and in most families women are responsible for
        philanthropic giving.
     7. Transition from a Product-Based Economy to an Experience Based
        Economy - Research among luxury consumers (top 25% of U.S.
        households with incomes $75,000 and above) has shown that
        experiential luxuries provide the ultimate luxury satisfaction,
        more so than home luxuries or personal luxuries like clothes, cars
        or jewelry. People no longer want to be known by the things that
        they own, but by who they are and the things that they have
        The experience economy is comprised of three types of products:
        freedom products, experience products, and memory products.
        Freedom is our most prized possession. Every device that gives us
        control also gives us freedom. Experience products allow us to
        "touch and feel" the world through our mind. And memory products
        are those things that we spend a fortune on each year trying to
        create good memories.
     8. The Age of Cross-Functional Foods With attempts being made to
        address complex lifestyle needs, food product designers are
        looking to add a second and sometimes third dimension to the
        products being developed. Not only do the foods have to be tasty
        and nutritious, but also entertaining and healthy, or anti-aging
        and educational, or just fun.
        A multitasking gazing snack that keep the brain functional, while
        at the same time feeding some natural craving, packaged in way
        that fits in a cars cupholder and alternately dispensed from a
        vending machine, branded to give some experiential feeling of
        being part of the "in" crowd is the type of complex product
        development efforts happening inside our food labs today. And with
        women being the primary purchasers of food products, everything
        from food fashions to styling is being closely scrutinized.
     9. 24-7 is Back People love to complain about their busy lives, yet
        most are going even further by multiplexing something akin to
        putting the brain in constant channel surfing mode living with
        simultaneous streams of consciousness through dual and often
        triple activities. Watching television while responding to an
        email and cooking dinner is all too common. But its still not
        enough. Everything has to be available 24/7.
        The past four years saw shortening store hours, reduced
        availability, and darkened streets at midnight. People sleep on
        average 2 hours less per night than 100 years ago (8.9 hrs vs.
        todays 6.9 hrs), and working with a new drive and positive energy
        both women and men are determined once again to live unrestrained
        lives. And they are demanding support from the business community
        to help feed this lifestyle.
    10. Get the Geek Out - The Internet was primarily developed by 20 and
        30 something nerd-guys who had a tough time relating to women.
        Perhaps it was less about their inability to relate to women and
        more about their inability to relate to first time users.
        Irregardless, early Internet users had to know how to speak geek.
        The closer they were to having a programmer mindset, the closer
        they became to functional proficiency on the Net.
        However, the lingering charm of being able to talk the language of
        nerds is now gone, and women are demanding a simpler interface.
        They need to "get it" on the first try or they will move on, and
        companies that have mastered the female interface are now finding
        that they are being rewarded with increased sales by both men and

    Thomas Frey is the Senior Futurist and Executive Director of the
    DaVinci Institute, a non-profit futurist think tank based in the
    innovation corridor of Colorado. The Institute has developed original
    research studies, on unusual topics, translating trends into unique
    opportunities.  He can be reached at dr2tom at davinciinstitute.com or

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