25 October 2011

Stephen Elop: Perspectives On Innovation And Living Through Disruption



Adobe's CTO Kevin Lynch apparently likes to do videos and interviews. As he got a whole series of video interviews in YouTube. This latest series being about perspectives on innovation from important players in tech.

This time around he got Stephen Elop. Someone that had to be easy to get for him as they are friends and former Macromedians back from when Stephen Elop was the CEO before going to lead the Business Division at Microsoft.

Now as CEO of Nokia, he is front and center in the spotlight again as he leads the transformation of Nokia from being the biggest Symbian based company to being the biggest WP7 based company. While at the same time trying to make it so that Nokia keeps the crown as the biggest phone maker in the world.

And all of that is something that he got a good chance at. Even if he has to take a lot of flak while doing it so.

Stephen Elop already has had to deal with a lot of criticism for the Nokia deal with Microsoft. And for Nokia continuing failings in a totally unjustified way. As he didn't caused the failings of Nokia for the previous 3 whole years before he got to be CEO. And he didn't had Microsoft as his first option for a deal. He went to Google as the first option, but he found out that taking on Android was a losing game on the long term. As Nokia would not be able to differentiate and stop the money bleeding fast enough if he did, Neither he was able to get any kind of securities or comfort from his negotiation with Google to justify betting Nokia's future on Android.

In retrospective, it is quite obvious now that Google made a HUGE mistake in not giving Nokia the securities and comfort it needed to have Nokia as a partner. As Nokia patent treasure chest would had been the right one to try to license out to seriously minimize two of the three wars of the Android IP dilemma. As it is the same treasure chest that won out a billion against Apple and the one that no one has dared to sue, as Nokia got lots and lots of critical patents on mobile phones.

And also in retrospect it was the better choice for Elop to not choose Android as it would had meant Nokia having to possibly go into a second battle with Apple and possibly also with Microsoft over Android. While at the same time fracturing the partnership Nokia was already cultivating with Microsoft. A partnership Stephen Elop actually built out himself with Nokia at the time he was at the lead of Microsoft's Business Division, for the past 3 years before he went to be Nokia's CEO.

Now, coming back to the interview. It is a short one with a good pace that talks about adjusting to times of disruption and on what innovation means from a practical business sense. Well worth a watch. And it should serve as a good prologue for those that will be watching and reading on Nokia's World keynote and news in some hours from now.





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