Making open source work at Nokia: forget the middle man(agement)

Open source is an executive phenomenon or it's a developer phenomenon. It's not a middle management phenomenon, as Ari Jaaksi (of Nokia) tells us....

Mikko Puhakka (Open Tuesday) sent me a painfully funny link to Ari Jaaksi's blog posting about the process of open source adoption at Nokia.

Ari's basic premise? You can count on executives or developers to get the open source religion and push for adoption...but don't expect middle management (Ari is a middle manager at Nokia) to push for the change:

In most cases the middle management does not have the luxury of being innovative or bright - they just need to get the products out....These middle managers never initiate change or generate new ideas because they are too busy running arons [sic?]. So the change never starts from the middle.

So I've come to the conclusion that you need crazy executives and religious developers to get things changed and new things [like open source] started. And you need stubborn and boring middle managers to get things eventually done.

Ari, a middle manager.

Very funny, and very true. The person in the middle has little to gain from rocking the boat with open source. Open source seems to be a bottom-up or top-down phenomenon. At least, at Nokia.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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