The Coming Tiger Jump of Nokia


In my recent publication I tried - together with my colleague Sofi Kurki - to elaborate the notion of long socio-economic cycles known as Kondratieff cycles or waves and how we are right now turning from 5th to 6th wave. One of the key ideas regarding the external cycles consisting of technological and geopolitical trends is that they always have an internal counterpart. As within, so without. What is happening "out there" has a direct resonance to our organisations.  

This holds true very much as we turned our attention to the great companies of our time. As the world is getting more complex (more pervasive technologies, more socio-political power centres spread around the globe, more connections, more Moore's law, more...) this should be very much reflected in the inner constitution of the companies that set out to thrive in the sixth wave.

In the Fifth wave, it was all about the focus. Cut the crap and find the focus of your business.  Those who relentlessly did that, usually succeeded like mad, at least for a good while. Like Microsoft, Apple. And also Nokia, as long as it lasted.

In the Sixth wave, it will be all about resilience. It is all about how agile you are. More than anything else, the next decades will ask us, are we alert enough of what what is really happening out there? This will be the competitive edge that will last.

In a recent interview, Michael Halbherr, the head of newly established Location & Commerce unit of Nokia, said "Nokia is now Europe's largest start-up - that's the state we're in and we're proud of that". I think there is no better way to describe what "resilience" means in practice. Why I say this?

In all of my personal experience with start-up scene the most important thing while you are building your company is that you are open to different solutions. If you get too fixed with your own idea you might easily get stuck, however great your idea/ innovation/product is. You have to have your senses open, ready to move fast, ready take the opportunity if it feels good and right. Of course this all need to be connected to your dream, your big goal. But being start-up means essentially being sensitive.

With Nokia, there came a time, around 10 years ago, when it began to become stiff. It lost its agility and with it, it lost most of its great brand, and some of its markets (not all!).

In order to become agile again, Nokia had to build new goals: now it wants to be "where" of the world in the same way as facebook is "who" and google is "how".  Every move it has taken in the last years, since Elop, it has developed this idea of being the "where". That is why already now, the location services you get to your new Lumia, are insurmountable. It works even off-line.

The second cornerstone of Nokia future is that everything belongs to the cloud. This makes the services they provide just so much more handy because information flows over  previous silos. What you get as a consumer, are tremendously helpful services, such as information of when and what next bus is coming to this station you are standing.

Together with this two cornerstones of Nokia's future, coupled with a still great brand as a reliable phone in developing countries and with their enormous need for location services, Nokia has now set the "inner tone" of the organisation, which is: be agile and innovative like a start up!

I am pretty certain that in the coming weeks and months this mental tiger jump that they have done will show up in interesting market interventions and, inevitably, in their share price.

Nokia seems to be ready for the 6th wave.