The modern company is a lot different from its predecessors. Innovation has changed how companies are organized, products are developed, and teams are led. All of this has been done for the better, with companies becoming more efficient and far-reaching than ever.

Innovation itself is being innovated. These five innovation trends are especially worth noting, as they are transforming the business landscape as we know it.

1. Digital Differentiation Is the New Normal

Ernst & Young Global chief innovation officer Jeff Wong talks about the importance of companies doubling down on their investments in technology. "Now is the time for CEOs to prioritize finding the capital to accelerate investments in digital transformation that show value today and differentiate their organizations tomorrow," Wong explains.

Wong brought this up at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. He emphasized that some companies had digitally differentiated themselves, while others had let old models decay. Those with the technology to maintain operations and take care of their employees come out on top. Those that don't thrive during the pandemic will follow their lead. 

2. World Events Are Driving Consumer--and Corporate--Behavior

Consumer behavior dictates how companies innovate and evolve. Companies can't exist without making profits, after all, so they must cater to the needs of the consumer. In 2020 and beyond, those needs and desires will be notably different from what they were in past decades.

For example, the EY Future Consumer Index found that 42 percent of respondents plan to change the way they shop. Another 35 percent stated they're changing the products they buy, all because of Covid-19. Companies that want to stay ahead need to realize consumer preferences are changing faster than ever to reflect world events.

3. Remote Work Is Everywhere

Years ago, you would have to report to a physical business location for work every day. Thanks to today's communication technologies, that's no longer the case at many companies. Business leaders have doubled down on remote work, even if not all employees are on board. 

The rise of remote workers is changing the organizational structure of businesses around the globe. Opportunities are everywhere, and resources are being distributed to new places. More work is getting done with fewer costs because remote workers don't need all of the same benefits as in-house workers.

4. Online Is Priority No. 1

The internet has only grown since its conception. It may seem like old news, but more and more companies are making their bets online--a trend that's accelerated because of Covid-19. This includes large corporations with already strong footing in their respective industries as well as up-and-coming businesses looking to gain momentum.

As consumers spend more time at home, digital marketing has become the default. Online shopping is also skyrocketing, and you can't put a price tag on its convenience. Even old-school companies are thinking twice about investing in traditional sales and marketing.

5. Small Automations Are Making Big Waves

Speaking of technology, A.I. has never looked like a better investment. Automation can greatly increase a company's productivity, efficiency, and longevity. While these technologies are still works in progress, they've proved themselves to be powerful. 

A.I. will revolutionize everything from customer service to product development. Technology will free up workers for "human required" work. Production costs that are saved by A.I. will be redistributed to product development, further accelerating the pace of innovation.

These and other innovation trends will transform how businesses are built and operated. Take a look at your own company: Capitalize on these trends, and you'll be sure to beat the curve.