There is a reason that Africans, by and large, love Nokia and there’s a reason that the brand has made such an impact in that part of the world. While most companies around the world are ignoring Africa, Nokia actively develops solutions for the continent.
I’m continually impressed with Nokia. They seem to really care about making money by doing things right. That’s easy enough for any large multinational to say, but much harder to practice. However, a couple new stories popped up recently that prove this out.
First off, you should go read what Jan Chipchase is writing about Nokia’s Open Studios. They’re working in shanty towns from Ghana to India actively listening to their target audience in the developing world. One of the initiatives that they just ran was a competition to design your ideal future phone”. Below is just one of the designs, see the rest in at BusinessWeek.
Nokia Civilian Police: Designed by a 17-year-old living in a Liberian refugee settlement, this phone is designed to help the user record daily life in the camp. This way he can share his experiences with others. It also helps fight crime by including two separate cameras. This also ensures that both he and his brother have access to a camera.
Beyond the ethnographic and discovery stages of what Nokia does are the actual phones. Juliana writes about Nokia’s new mobile phones for emerging markets. This is where all the work by people like Jan and Younghee come to fruition.
Lastly, everyone should be aware of Nokia’s Beta Labs, which is full of news and information on what they’re doing in markets around the world. It’s their skunkworks and R&D center (the stuff that they share anyway), and it’s just one more touch point to see how Nokia is innovating around the world.