Feeds

Rescuing Nokia? A former exec has a radical plan

The Risku Manifesto - now in English

The essential guide to IT transformation

Interview A couple of months ago, a book appeared in Finland which has become a minor sensation. In the book, a former senior Nokia executive gives his diagnosis of the company, and prescribes some radical and surprising solutions. Up until now, the book has not been covered at all in the English language. This is the first review of the proposals outlined in Uusi Nokia (New Nokia - the manuscript) and draws on three hours of interviews with its author, Juhani Risku.

It’s very, very timely – and even if you don’t follow Nokia, mobile or telecomms it’s a fascinating exercise in business analysis and organisational studies. Enjoy.

[If you’re in a hurry – use this handy jump list:
Nokia Research » Symbian » Marketing » Dual CEO model
Design: contextual » London Office
People: Kallasvuo » Vanjokki » Aho » Ojanperä » Ahtisaari » McDowell]

Juhani Risku is 53 and was independently successful before he joined Nokia – trained as an architect and industrial designer, his company had offices in France and Paris as well as Finland. He spent nine years at Nokia from 2001 and his various roles at the company included design, usability (he was head of Symbian user experience design) and Forum Nokia. He was also head of Nokia Showroom – the last place before the operators make their decisions on buying the company’s network systems.

What’s evident is his affection for the company, which is itself an expression of Finnish culture and philosophy. In our talk, he often slipped into describing Nokia with “we”. In his scorecard, he gives the company high marks for logistics, manufacturing, sourcing and R&D. For Risku, Nokia remains “one of the best companies anywhere on Earth”, and its core talent and assets should see it in good stead. It needs to change, but doesn’t need to throw away its essentially Finnish approach to doing business, as others advise, says Risku. So what’s wrong and how should Nokia fix itself?

The diagnosis is largely one that others have made. Essentially, Nokia has forgotten how to bring innovative products to market. This is despite a rich R&D base, which has pioneered many of the innovations competitors now feature. Instead, a risk-averse bureaucracy has grown up that stifles innovation – it makes progress slow or non-existent. For example, he cites Maps as an example of where a huge investment was bypassed by faster-moving competitors, and by using engineers, not designers, in product development.

This diagnosis may be familiar, but the proposals quite radical. Risku proposes a dual-leadership role with an innovator – a Finn who understands the corporate culture – in a kind of “Steve Jobs” role. This would clear the many obstacles that stand between the lab and product concept and products. There would be a bloodbath of middle managers – starting with 300 to 500 staff at senior VP, VP or director level. This he calls a GRO program, or Get-Rid-Of.

But surprisingly, Risku doesn’t recommend a culture transplant, of bringing in Americans. A sub-text to so much Nokia criticism today is that it doesn’t do business the American way. But doing so would be a disaster, he says – “aggressive and arrogant” wouldn’t work. Both Olli-Pekka and leading internal candidates are competent and could mentor their successors – but new thinking is required.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.