ESPOO, Finland – This was the year that Nokia really engaged with their most passionate users over new and future products and services. Two of the best examples of this are the Nokia Beta Labs and Nokia Pilots. Fascinated by their progress, we visited the respective teams repeatedly over the past year. Both are driven by the growing understanding at Nokia that the company can’t do all the innovation alone, that it helps to involve real users in the process.
Beta Labs has been around for a while, but they certainly hit their stride this year. While early on Beta Labs was making public the efforts of small innovative teams at Nokia, such as with the folks who made the S60 Calculator, this year they have been a major channel to introduce new versions of mainstream services and applications, such as Ovi Suite and Nokia Maps. Tommi Vilkamo is the driving force behind Nokia Beta Labs and we did a profile on him back in August.
Nokia Pilots is more recent, but we find it presents an interesting future for the company. At the heart of Nokia Pilots is the mixing of passionate users and the device creation process. By getting our devices earlier into user’s hands, we can collaboratively shape the way the product turns out. In the end, we get a better product, which is good for all of us.
Both these programs are breaking new ground for Nokia and have been well received by the public. We look forward to what the next year brings for these guys and wish them further success.