In an interview with Reuters, CEO Elop, the person behind most radical changes, Nokia has ever gone through, has openly discussed what was the malaise which had impacted Nokia and led to its slide. He mentions that arrogance and stubbornness coming out of being a market leader for long, led Nokia to miss many visible industry trends. It hurt Nokia for many years.
The problem, Elop says, was a stubbornness that came from years of being at the top. He says he has encouraged employees to adopt a “challenger mindset”.
“What I really mean is, don’t be arrogant,” he said. “There’s a number of examples over the last six, seven years, where Nokia heard trends but decided to ignore those trends because it felt that it somehow knew better… And that hurt the company badly for many years.”
The way the company used to handle product development has gone for a big change now and that has led to a product delivery cycle of 6 to 8 months as compared to 22 months for earlier product like N8.
Elop reckoned the company spent 22 months on the N8, which used the now-obsolete Symbian operating system and was launched shortly after he joined the company. “A number of our Windows Phone products are on six to eight month delivery cycles. We are moving so much faster,” he said.
Other Nokia execs also confirm that Elop replies to customer’s mails directly, something we have seen really happening.
Alf Noto, head of Nokia’s customer care division, said that approach was reflected in the way it now deals with customers. Elop answers around 10-20 customer emails each day, he said. Others say Nokia has also become more humble towards its partners, including carriers and retailers who sell handsets, as well as developers who create the apps for phones. “He took a lot of the arrogance out. For a while we were behaving like a market leader and we weren’t,” said Christof Hellmis, an executive at Nokia’s Here navigation business.
One interesting fact emerges out that “Lumia” name was finalized in one day after Elop personally pushing for it to be finalized by end of their meeting,
“We almost fell into the trap that had often befallen Nokia, which was… let them work on it a bit longer because we couldn’t quite reach agreement,” Elop said. Instead, he demanded a decision that day. “Why wait til tomorrow or next week? We could make the decision today. And we did.” Lumia was the result.
We can really count no. of trends like dual-sim, capacitive touchscreen (iPhone), Tablets Nokia really dared to miss and suffered in short to long run. While it still is laggard in adopting trends like big display, processor with multiple cores but certainly things are happening really fast. Lumia 625 is a proof that Nokia has adopted big display trend and upcoming Phablets will certainly bring Full HD display, Quad-core processors etc.
In a nutshell, thing really look bright for Nokia going ahead. Just maintain that humility and invest more in market research!!