This interview appears as part of the GOOD DESIGN awards book. The awards were created in Chicago in 1950 by Eero Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames and Edgar Kaufmann, Jr.. The interview expands on the themes of the video above and the culture of the Nokia Design team.
In your role as Head of Design at Nokia responsible for Nokia product design, is there any particular direction you will be taking the company from a design point-of-view?
In the studio, we talk about making products that are pure, built better, human and advanced. We aim for a harmony between the physical and the digital.
Nokia was the world’s number one telecommunications company. Do you intend to regain that market prominence and any plans or strategies you can disclose to do so?
Yes. Ultimately it's for people to judge the quality of our work and products. One area we are working on is helping you to personalize your phone experience, so that you can easily do those things you do everyday, surfacing the people, places and actions that are most relevant to you.
What is the future of the hand-held telephone device? Will it exist in the next decade?
Heads up! If you look around you today in any city around the world, you'll see people, perhaps a couple in a restaurant, with their heads down, staring in their smartphones "romantically" pinching and zooming. Our goal is to design communication products that give people their head up again. This means products that are glanceable, that don't require any more attention than necessary. A simple example is the glanceable clock and notifications on the screens of our new phones, removing the need to "turn on" the device.
Is the future of telecommunications more abstract than the actual tools that accomplish their results, meaning, is the future the kind of route some firms like IBM have taken and ventured into services rather than the design or manufacturing of objects? Will design, in the end, become invisible?
I like Naoto Fukasawa's idea of design dissolving in behavior, but I don't think this means design is becoming invisible. Software and services make up more and more of the value in technology products, but at the same time the mechanical interfaces of objects are becoming more and more important. In an increasingly digital world, people are responding to the tactile qualities of our products.
What about the other technologies for transportation, habitat, electronics…How do you see those in the not so far-away distant future?
Already today the data from mobile devices is being used to improve life in cities, to make transportation more efficient and ecological. We are building a constantly updated digital model of the real world with our HERE maps that makes this possible.
After the economic booms in the past decades, the dot.coms, stocks and shares, the housing bubbles, in your opinion, what’s next?
As a famous entrepreneur once said, software will eat the world. The Internet will work it's way through education, healthcare, travel and other sectors of the economy, just as it continues to work it's way through media and telecoms. The Internet is an inherently democratizing technology.
To connect people, to bring us closer.