July 29 - 31, 2019
The LINE Hotel, Los Angeles, CA

PART 2: Maturity to Digital & Design: Nokia's Current Journey


By: Jose de Francisco Lopez
05/07/2019

Nokia is a Fortune’s Global 500 corporation headquartered in Finland, which involves in excess of 100,000 employees worldwide. Most of us joined the company in recent years… which I think is nothing short from fascinating.

Nowadays, Nokia is a top B2B player in large scale digital communication technologies. Most specifically: 5G, Internet of Things, Cloud and Software just to list some well-known examples.

R. Siilasmaa’s recent book, “Transforming Nokia,” discusses what it took to pull off the company’s dramatic recovery in the past few years, while noting that this is not the first time that we reinvent ourselves since 1865. His leadership style is characterized by “Paranoid Optimism,” which I’d like to discuss in context later on.




At Nokia Studio we intertwine disciplines such as Data Visualization, Cybernetics and Behavioral Economics to design state of the art Decision Support Systems for next-generation digital services. These are Human-Machine-Systems (HMS.)

Given our focus on game changing innovations, Human-Centered-Design (HCD) happens to be a critical success factor at all stages in the iterative exploration, definition, introduction and broader diffusion of emerging and next generation technologies Design Thinking’s desirability, technical feasibility and business viability are, therefore, well understood critical success factors.




The Studio’s research addresses how to clearly articulate early desirability coupled with market-pull & outside-in strategies.  Thinking through the business value of design signals the need for removing friction from a B2B journey that involves formal contractual acceptance as the accounting trigger behind revenue recognition.

Geoffrey A. Moore’s classic, “Crossing the Chasm,” and Clayton M. Christensen’s best-seller “The Innovator’s Dilemma” make all of us mindful of the need for addressing the journey between early adopters (FOA, first office application, in the telecoms sector) and adequately scaling in the marketplace.

 

This means expanding across segments and industries to leverage economies of scale and, therefore, continuous improvement and innovation. Following that train of thought, consistently and predictably delivering superior satisfaction levels in the form of customer delight becomes a decisive and sustainable competitive advantage.




Our Studio is engaged in large, sophisticated and fluid projects that involve inter-domain undertakings. Successful cross-pollination intersects three dimensions:

·         going wide across domains to take down silos and deep on a domain basis to best leverage our know-how

·         tightly or loosely coupled integration in the value-chain / supply-chain ecosystem

·         in-house and external collaboration in alignment with the above

While purposely implied by the naming, it is worth highlighting that our home-grown QXbD, Quality Experiences by Design, methodology zeroes in on delivering meaningful, differentiated and measurable quality outcomes that are tangible to our customers.

Nokia QXbD has been conceived as a meta-discipline that can be deconstructed and re-shaped on a project and sought-after outcomes basis. We can, therefore, not just start agile but also remain truly lean to effectively get the job done.



As introduced early on, Risto’s Transforming Nokia, discusses the impact of “Paranoid Optimism” which is also explicitly captured in the book’s subtitle. Tactically speaking, that means: leveraging the hindsight that comes from analyzing lessons learned, the thought process that leads to both obvious and hidden insights, as well as applying creative tensions and foresight to flush-out not just one single path forward, but alternative different scenarios for consideration.

 

In that context, Optimism in design fosters the pursuit of an ambitious game changing scenario. Being purposely Paranoid involves the sort of predictive and responsive monitoring that prompts and guides necessary reality checks and course corrections… and even pivoting in a timely fashion. This acknowledges the ripple effects and moving targets that arise when innovating and/or transforming which, when ignored, can derail any well-intended transformation effort.




Interestingly enough, Jim Collins’ painstaking research behind “Great by Choice” outlined that Productive Paranoia is a critical success factor. He exemplifies companies that have consistently delivered 10x results by outperforming competitors in bull and bear market conditions. Jim defines Productive Paranoia as a must-have business obsession, where contingency planning and risk mitigation are of the essence.


Paul Romer, World Bank Chief Economist and last year’s Nobel laureate, makes the case for Conditional Optimism and innovation being the outcome of the marketplace’s “discovery machine.” He differentiates between complacent and conditional optimism.

The complacent kind relies on deploying hard work to make things happen, and keep iterating, while hoping for the best by setting things in motion… also described as blind optimism. Conditional Optimism focuses on proactively finding solutions to problems, and closely monitoring outcomes thru the transformation journey.


Long story short… in Nokia’s context, Design Thinking maturity can be measured by our optimism as we strive to deliver state of the art technologies that augment and expand human possibilities, coupled with paranoid and creative tensions as we purposely obsess with delivering quality experiences.

 



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