How 2020 Has Raised the Standard for Digital Products

November 25 6 min read
The competition between startups and corporations

Forbes says that 2020 is the year of digital products, while McKinsey says that our worldwide recovery will be digital. We couldn’t agree more, so we are taking a look at how this year raised the standard for digital products.

But it’s not just the increasing consumption of digital that has led this paradigm shift, but also the inherent competition between corporate giants and flexible startups.

The Normalization of Remote Teams

At the beginning of 2020, and little did we know, we were already on a trend that started to value employee productivity not just in terms of deadlines and completed tasks, but in terms of the people’s wellbeing, the healthy habits, the culture of trust that increases retention. But just like any other very good idea, this one was slowly and organically increasing, company by company.

There’s no aspect of glorification of the current global pandemic here, and this is in no way a comparison between different factors, but 2020 sent people home. And it was maybe the best thing that could have happened to our global workforce, because it finally forced us to shift our perspectives. 

It was brutal and unexpected and messy at first, as change is, but it also helped us transition towards a healthier workspace

Of course, the idea of health could first apply to the employees in itself. It’s no secret that remote work makes us happier (Stanford says it), and it also creates a healthy collaborative environment. 

From an organizational standpoint, there’s nothing but a brave new world to look forward to. We’re at an all-time low when it comes to employee retention. It’s not easy to loyalize and to make people believe in their work, when this has become the gold standard. Normalizing employee appreciation and seeking to constantly improve the work environment both in terms of upskilling employees and in terms of turning their involvement into revenue has made it even more difficult for companies to keep their best talents in. 

The Normalization of Remote Teams

And while apparently unrelated, normalizing remote work makes it easier for the top few percent of professionals to keep working for your company instead of changing jobs. It is somewhat of a common fact that the best creative minds of a generation are hardest to please. And while that’s just the ingredient that drives change and innovation and moves the world forward, it’s also what makes these professionals so hard to loyalize. Being constantly unsteady and on the verge of being impressed by something new is an inherent part of the creative process. 

Working from home allows your employees to stay in touch with their own passions both during work hours and outside of them, while commute time is saved and projects become truly global.

Facing facts, 75% of the global workforce will consist of millennials by 2025. In a world where over 80% of these millennials say they’d stay more loyal to their employers if they had remote flexibility, companies have to truly adapt or face the consequences. From Silicon Valley to developing countries, offices are turning into a relic of a long gone paradigm. 

The speed at which companies embraced this (and we’re talking giants, such as Twitter or Microsoft) shows us that this move was long due. 

Good Old Competition

In even better news, it’s not just satisfaction that rockets when working remotely, but productivity too, which is how 2020 raised the standard for digital products. According to a survey by CoSo Cloud, almost a quarter of employees (23%) are willing to work longer hours, half of them are less likely to take time off and a third declared accomplishing more in less time, with an overall rate of productivity improvement confirmed by 77% of the people surveyed.

And so we’ve established that your most talented employees are more motivated and more productive. But there’s also more companies online than ever – and we’re not just talking about digital transformation, which of course impacts the statistics massively, and has raised the standard of digital products in and of itself.

Digital products have spiked since the beginning of the pandemic, in every possible way: both in numbers and in terms of creativity


We’ve always been terrified of procrastinators. The idea that most of our top employees are procrastinating most of their time is truly one underrated challenge that companies have to deal with. Now remove any real-life distraction from the equation, and you’ve got yourself  a bored and brilliant mind. 

Your employees now procrastinate, aka spend time, on new products and ideas since the pandemic hit us, which makes this a time for real innovation, despite the mind-numbing cliché. But as McKinsey’s survey points out, only a little over 20% of the current execs are truly ready to ride the wave of this opportunity, while the others are trapped in the complex matrix of balancing safety measures and driving productivity while cutting costs.

A Better Environment for Startups and Creatives

The invasion of new products, from SaaS solutions to creative ways of bringing events into the digital world, 2020 has been a blast in terms of innovation. The trend spiked more than ever, with increasingly more people having the necessary time to focus on their pet projects that they were always going to set in motion but never had the actual time to. 

And just like any other capitalist endeavor, more quantity led to more quality – products that were good enough at the beginning of February are less and less used, while others have gained popularity.

Better Economic Environment

Think of the Skype-Slack dichotomy. Smaller companies, which are more flexible, easier to deploy and to adapt, have forced the too-big-to-fail bunch to improve the quality of their services in order to stay competitive. 

This kind of innovation for good was only another company value on a website page that nobody really enforces, and 2020 has brought back a layer of competitive thinking that shook industries. 

If relevance is the new global currency, innovation is what we spend it on.

What To Remember

Suppose you’ve just skimmed through this article. Keep in mind that: 

  • Employees are more productive at home
  • Teams have adapted to remote work surprisingly fast
  • New social paradigms have brought back our sense of creative, purposeful innovation
  • Corporate giants are facing the burden of fast adaptation that startups have enforced upon them.