The New Future of Nokia


I always remember reading the article from Fortune journalist who journeyed  to Finland in 1999 to explore the "secret code of Nokia". In the course of expedition he grew in great pains to understand what it really is as anything he heard from executives and experts did not satisfy him: technology, delivery etc, they were all in pretty good shape but didn't reveal the secret. Until it was the very last day of his stay and he went to interview Jorma Ollila, then CEO of Nokia. Discussion was good but alas, he didn't find what he was looking for. Until Ollila, at the end of the session suggested they go to eat together. So down they went to the canteen where all the employees had their lunch. No canteen for the executives, he realized. As they were queuing to get their food he observed, how employees with all ages and all ranks, said hello to him and discussed passingly, starting "Jorma..."and then it fell on him: this is the secret of Nokia. Corporate culture that allow anybody to approach him without any pretension. And gives fertile ground for interaction beween those who in corner room and those who work on the floor. And instigates innovation and flow which materializes in new innovative products and services.

Somewhere on the line they must have lost the line and became to what so many companies today suffer: they lost the potential of the internal interaction and institutional nausea took place.

During this fall I have seen the signs that that the old spirit, in its new form, have gained momentum. And now they have come out with new product family with the flagship phone Lumia 920. Comments have been encouraging: "hottest phone in the market" and other remarks that simply tell Nokia is back in producing cutting edge customer experience. US, Singapore, Germany, Australia, US, we are hearing customers are finding Nokia again. Leave alone surge in the stock valuation during last week.

Is this sustainable? Is this the great bifurcation point, to mark the new rise to the top of this highly competitive industry Of course no one can say that for sure. But I have an itch that this might be the case. Nokia is now creating its new future as we speak. They still have their positive  brand in many countries like in India, where Nokia still means reliability and durability. And as I investigated what consumers think of the product by visiting couple of stores here in Silicon Valley, the enthusiasm was clearly visible. And vendors were eager to point out how Lumia's new features simply outperform any other product in the market, including iphone and samsung galaxy.

As a Finn who has lived  most of last 20 years in mobile-Nokia country, this all makes me very excited. Nokia is back in business and who knows if it is shooting back to the top, after the very recent moment where most of the confidence on Nokia had vanished in the eye of customers and investors.

Future, as it seems, always comes with surprises. Let's hope this time it means that Nokia has now gained back its momentum, thus creating a totally new future for itself and bit of that also for all of us.