Opinion: 'Plan B' is no plan...

If you don’t understand the problem you’re probably part of it.

‘Plan B’ is an anonymous attempt to campaign for Stephen Elop’s removal and the reinstatement of Nokia’s previous Symbian and MeeGo strategy. The authors claim to be ‘9 young investors’ but their lack of awareness over the pressures the Nokia board were under to ‘do something’ and their analysis of what and where the problems are is crude to say the least.

A change like the one being executed by Nokia at present is a difficult one - it’s an emotional challenge as much as a technical one, as anyone who’s worked in changing a business will tell you. It’s especially hard in this case because firms and individuals’ livelihoods are impacted by the announcement. Fear of change is normal.

However, the decision is made. The wheels are turning. The (unconsidered by the Plan B-ers) impact of a U-turn at this point would be a catastrophic failing in operator confidence and that would seriously damage the firm. As disruptive as this change is for some in itself it doesn’t matter. It’s how Nokia executes this change that matters and that’s where investors (and people pretending to be investors) should focus their energies if they want to exert a positive influence.

Equally it’s worth being suspicious of anyone who claims for certain to know this move is a ‘disaster’ or ‘guaranteed success’… there are far too many variable acting in this situation for anyone to be that certain. Many of those variables are external to the firm and the combination of their impact is hard to judge. Who foresaw the iPhone’s impact on the market and consumer’s perceptions of smartphones? More importantly, who foresaw the iPhone’s impact on Nokia’s competitors and how they would be changed by it.

It is important Nokia succeeds in this move - not because of who they are or the loyalty their products have built-up amongst a significant and vocal fanbase and not because of the people whose jobs / supply contracts / pension schemes rely on them - but because innovation in mobile has the potential to contribute more to economic growth, health and education than almost any other technology.

Stop pedalling backwards.