You know, every time I see the Nokia story, I simply see the need for human beings to rationalise anything that happens and apportion blame.
Despite the last words of the Nokia CEO being ‘we didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow we lost,’ several articles and case studies paint a picture of everything Nokia did wrong and how it eventually was eliminated by competition. Most are lessons of management failure, pointing to how Nokia failed to innovate and thus crumbled from its peak.
Without delving deeper, one could easily assume that Nokia was dead which is far from the truth, Nokia still exists, running with a different business model that still makes over 20 billion dollars every year.
If you read about Nokia’s history, they have always evolved as a company, and done pretty well at it. Founded in 1865 as a paper mill business, evolving to electricity generation, then rubber products to cable works before mobile phones.
Nokia having survived over 150 years with upward of 40 years in telecoms has done better than any of the current top companies.
Some business downfalls are clearly as result of mismanagement, but surely there’s an element of luck in everything successful in life.
The richest entrepreneurs will tell you about luck, no one can deny its role. Some christians call it grace, unmerited favour.
And everything negative that happens is not because of poor judgement, personal failure or human error etc. There must not always be a logical reason. Some christians call such happenings ‘God’s permissive will.’
I also speak as an ex Nokia UK employee, who worked at Nokia at its peak as a UI Design Engineer.
Nokia was great place to work by any standard and was way ahead of its time. As far back as the 90s, Nokia provided flexible working, personal learning budget, AMEX credit card from day 1, free phones and calls, beautiful offices equipped with onsite sauna and gym, generous profit sharing, do-nut days (monthly staff networking event served with free do-nuts/pastries), restaurant and cafe, over 20 floors of free parking, international exposure and travel. Nokia was inclusive, I never felt discriminated against despite at one point being the only female black staff amongst several thousand of white employees. They accepted my younger brother for internship, when I asked HR.
Nokia provided work and economic empowerment to the communities around its office locations in over 130 countries. Nokia made history when it blessed the world with the best mobile phones. Till today, the 3310 is still sold en mass and remains one of the most iconic phones due to its incomparable durability. Imagine being discontinued in 2007 and revived in 2017.
Nokia still remains a great company. As Rhianna put it…’there are no failures, only lessons.’
Nokia didn’t lose everything, Nokia only stopped being number 1 in mobile phones. Success is multidimensional.
Nokia did what it was best at.
Nokia reinvented itself.