We sat down with a man popular on this Forum to learn a little bit more about his Nokia mobile story.
We sat down with a man popular on this Forum to learn a little bit more about his Nokia mobile story. He's the design brain behind the Nokia 7.2, Nokia 6.2, Nokia 800 Tough, Nokia G10, Nokia G20, and now, the stunning Nokia XR20.
Folks, say hello to @Miika Mahonen, Principal Designer, Product Management, HMD Global
Here are excerpts from our interview…
Hello Miika! Tell us, in a nutshell, who are you?
Finnish industrial designer. Currently Principal designer at HMD Global. Last project I worked on and finished was the XR20. Just turned 40 this year and currently live in Espoo Finland.
What’s your Nokia story?
My first phone was a Nokia. I was 16 when I got my dad´s old 8800i. It was so cool at the time :D I remember it dropped from my pocket when riding a motorcycle and we found it the next day wet in a ditch next to the road after a rain. I just put the battery back in and it worked perfectly. Really unbreakable!
I have had many Nokia phones; the latest one before the Android models was a white Lumia 1020. Really loved that phone too – minimalistic design and a great camera. Now I am using the XR20 in the Ultra Blue color.
Tell us what the journey has been like to get to where you are today…
I studied product design in Finland and my first job was in a yacht company. When I turned 28, I packed my bags and went to the United States to get a master’s degree in Industrial Design. After graduating I ended up working in Asia for 8 years. Now, I’m back in Finland and working at HMD Global HQ in Espoo.
The mobile device industry has evolved dramatically in the past 5 years or so. How have you approached change?
The development and evolution have been so remarkable. We might feel the devices haven’t changed so much in the past few years but when you really think about the functions, features, and services, it is a huge leap forward. Especially smartphones – they have become “tools for life” which you use to handle everything. Besides all your communication needs, you handle finances, medical issues, transportation - pretty much everything through the phone these days.
At HMD Global, our approach is to create these durable and beautiful objects for daily life. The XR20 is a great example of this. Mobile productivity that can handle anything. Secure and durable but also beautiful and refined. Something that feels personal and one that the user can be proud to carry.
Even personally, the XR20 type smartphone is exactly what I have been looking for. I might be in a cold place, on a ski ****, sending messages of new ideas to my co-workers. Or hiking and answer a few emails in the pouring rain. Great user experience in any conditions and I don’t have to worry about my phone breaking down.
How do you see HMD Global and Nokia Mobile growing as a consumer brand?
One of the things I love working on is bringing new and unique devices and services to market. We are working hard to improve the Nokia mobile products and evolve them for the future while celebrating the essential values like durability and simplicity. Also, we want to reinvent how Nordic design looks and feels in the future. Every product is important for us, and we want to make something that users can enjoy for a long time.
Tell us a little about yourself. Who is Miika Mahonen when he’s not at work?
Always been a tech fan. Love reading and watching science fiction. There is the element of envisioning what the future looks like that interests me. And now I get to do it even as a job 😊
Love cars and motorcycles. I got my first dirt bike when I was 8 years old and have been riding ever since. I ride around Finland on my motorcycle during summer. During winters I have been skiing since I was 5 years old and still hit the slopes regularly. I think the element of speed has always been a thing for me haha.
I am super active and I used to travel a lot before covid. I’ve been to around 20 countries so far. The last places I visited before covid were Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Bali. I love seeing different cultures and people. It keeps your mind open for new ideas.
Which book are you reading right now?
The upcoming movie Dune inspired me to read the Frank Herbert Dune books again. I read them last more than 20 years ago. They are so good!
Name three people – past or present – who have inspired you.
Alvar Aalto (architect)
Stanley Kubric (movie director)
Greta Thunberg (activist)
When it’s all done and dusted, how would you want to be remembered?
Not sure really. I suppose a guy that did get something good during his life haha.
Tell us something we don’t already know.
The latest thing I have got myself into is yoga. It’s an amazing way to work on both the body and the mind. I hope in the future I would have the chance to visit India to practise and learn more.
Finally, any message for our Fans?
I am so super happy to be in touch with Nokia fans. It is really important to us. And I hope we can offer some surprises in the near future 😉