“The best way to predict the future is to create it,” argued Abraham Lincoln. And we must believe in him. Because, although we reached the end of the year globally negatively affected by the Pandemic, the forced changes revealed valuable opportunities. In this transition to a new year, we would like to propose this exercise with some of the lessons that 2020 left us.
Technology is the way, but capital is human
Technology is the way, but capital is human. Before the Pandemic, the Internet was in our daily lives; now it has become a basic good that connects us to the world. According to a report by Digital 2020, by the middle of the year, 60% of the world’s population used the Internet, and more than 8 out of 10 mobile users declared that it was essential to survive the Pandemic, because it allowed them to sustain their children’s education ( 76%), keep in touch with friends and family (74%) and even improves their well-being (43%).
To maintain these indexs -which are also essential to get out of the crisis-, it is necessary to work on digital government policies, as did Colombia, which ranks third in the world in the OECD Digital Government Index as reported by Víctor Muñoz, Counselor Presidential for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation.
In any case, however connected we are, capital is still human. Although the technological revolution gave “Artificial Intelligence” a seat at the board of directors, 60% of those consulted in the Deloitte 2020 Global Human Capital Trends Report declare that Artificial Intelligence is used more as support than to replace people.
In fact, the study maintains, managers of the future will coordinate super teams that combine human capital with Artificial Intelligence: while technology will be responsible for data, traceability and transparency, people will be measured by their skills soft: their connectivity, of course, but also their social and emotional skills, their adaptability, and their resilience.
Remote work is better
Between the revolutions of 2020, remote work consolidated itself as one of the great protagonists of the transition to the new normal. From the smallest to the largest companies they had to adapt their models to distributed teams, and the conversion had good results in performance.
A recent survey by Enterprise Technology Research, which measures, among other things, last year’s productivity, predicts that telecommuting will double in 2021: of the 1,000 CEOs interviewed worldwide, 48.6% reported that productivity had increased since the quarantine began.
Remote work reduces production costs, allows remote access to talent, improves productivity with flexible hours, enhances concentration, eliminates the work-family axis, protects the environment by reducing travel and, practically, allows storing the information in the ecloud so that all members of a team are aligned and can monitor the execution of processes with transparency and efficiency.
E-commerce is the ultimate way to shop
If it was already on the rise before the declaration of the Pandemic, the trend deepened during the lockdowns. For obvious reasons, e-commerce became almost an exclusive channel for the purchase of food and supplies, but also for social and entertainment experiences, and registered an annual increase of 6 to 10% in most of the categories.
As reported by Roberto Ramírez Laverde, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Mastercard Latin America, through a survey carried out jointly with Americas Market Intelligence, before COVID-19 the penetration rate of electronic commerce was 45% among Latin Americans and it reached almost 83% in recent months, not only for the purchase of essential products but of all kinds.
The L’Oréal group reports that the online sale of beauty and cosmetic products far exceeded the estimates they had for 2020: from the initial 20% estimated for electronic market operations, they closed the year with 30%, informed Pablo Sánchez Liste, director Communication, Public Affairs, Sustainability and Marketing at L’Oréal México.
The future is female
According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted 87% of the world’s companies led by women. And this was so for several reasons, ranging from gender inequality in access to technology to the majority of women in the areas most affected by the recession.
And yet, it is the female segment that contains the keys to recovery, because it is women who are most committed to entrepreneurship, prompted by the independence and creativity that fosters liquid work, which is the structuring of work through starting from three main ideas: digitization, flexibility and mobility. This trend is, above all, marked in developing countries, where entrepreneurship is an alternative to the lack of formal work.
Motivated by the leadership that best managed the Pandemic, such as that of the governments of New Zealand, Germany, Finland, Taiwan and Denmark – all headed by women – they impose a confident and altruistic model that is spearheading the world, not only because it shows the way to a more inclusive and fairer society but also because it has excellent returns.
Change must continue
We changed so much during 2020 that by the beginning of the year 2021, this time almost nothing will change. In addition, the real kickoff will be the Coronavirus vaccine. That is why we want to join the wishes that we all have: that 2021 brings us health. Because if we can celebrate something about this year that is leaving, it is that, for once, history finds us all on the same side and, with that, the opportunity to start over together.