How Finland Brought Down Nokia and Revived Itself

June 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Never have country and company been so interlinked, technology bound them now it sets them free.

Read an extract from my feature on TrustedReviews of my thoughts following my trip to Finland…

How Finland Brought Down Nokia and Revived Itself

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 21 June 2011

“Anytime you have a very big duck in a very small pond there are effects that are not in the interest of the pond or the duck.”

It may sound a strange analogy, but Risto Siilasmaa knows what he is talking about. Once Finland’s wealthiest man, Siilasmaa is the chairman, founder and former CEO of Helsinki-based F-Secure, one of the largest security companies in the world. Since 2008 he has sat on Nokia’s board of directors.

“If you went to a Finnish university a few years ago the vast majority of graduates went to Nokia or into the public sector,” he explains. “There was always a job, there was security. Nokia’s success guaranteed it.”

This may sound extreme, but to understand it fully requires context. Nokia may be a technology heavyweight, but it has been in existence since 1865. Its founder, Fredrik Idestam, didn’t call it Nokia until 1871 when he named it after a small nearby town. Over the years it has made car and bicycle tyres, plastics, aluminium and chemicals, televisions, robotics and military equipment including gas masks. It didn’t move into the electrical business for nearly 30 years and only focused purely on telecommunications since the 1990s.

Despite its evolutionary nature the company has come to define Finland. It has 132,000 employees; Finland has a population of 5.4m. In 2003 it accounted for one quarter of all Finland’s exports. In 2007 it was responsible for a third of the market capitalisation of the entire Helsinki stock exchange. Its dominance is a unique situation for any industrialised country and its huge ‘Nokia House’ headquarters (pictured below) overpower its hometown of Espoo.
nokia house

“It created an attitude of complacency in the population that we are trying to change,” said Siilasmaa. “Nokia became a victim of its own success because over time this attitude then filtered through the company.” READ ON

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