nearly 10 times in 10 years is impressive, but not entirely unheard of. Start
with a sufficiently low base or launch an acquisition campaign and almost
anyone can do it. Indeed, I’ve bumped into several companies that have.
But to drive
such growth when you are already collecting billions in revenue – and to do it
organically without major acquisitions – is something different, something remarkable.
Almost no company has done it. But Nokia has.
I got a
chance to sit down with Taneli Ruda, one of Nokia’s top strategists. Taneli
helps maintain Nokia’s strategic agenda and leads a team charged with ensuring
Nokia’s strategic plans align with the company’s overall priorities. He gave a
peek into how Nokia has unlocked such breakneck innovation and consistently outmaneuvered
Be ahead of the curve
answer to Nokia’s growth is that the company successfully identified the next
battleground. There was a time when Nokia made tires, produced rubber, owned
forests, and fabricated paper goods. It had, over its hundred or so years of
evolution, become an unfocused conglomerate.
strategy eventually caught up with the Finnish firm. The company’s financial
foundation weakened severely, and its CEO committed suicide.
innovations’ blooms are always rooted in deep discontent. And so Nokia’s
troubles laid the foundation for real change.
realized it could not survive covering so many battlegrounds, so it felt forced
to look for the next one. It recognized that the deregulation and privatization
of Europe’s telecom market would create a major opportunity, so it shed its
rubber plants and paper mills and invested with focused determination on
The bet paid
off. Mobile phones have grown faster and for longer than most experts imagined.
And Nokia, being one of the first with a determinate stake in that ground, has
grown with it.
“If you really want to get to hyper growth, then you need to be ahead of the
curve for identifying trends.”
This is pattern #22: move early to
the next battleground.
percent of the most competitive companies of the decade triggered their
breakthroughs in part with this same pattern. We all know we should be thinking
about the next battleground, but rarely take a pause to truly consider it.
So stop now and ask yourself:
forgetting your current battle, where is the next battleground and what
can you do today to begin positioning yourself there?