Scott Maguire, Dyson

Scott Maguire, Global Engi­neer­ing Di­rec­tor, Dyson

HWM (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - by Alvin Soon

Is there a framework which Dyson uses to solve prob­lems and cre­ate prod­ucts?

No, I’m afraid not. The key thing is that we try to break it down into smaller chunks. The first thing is to know what prob­lem it is that you’re try­ing to solve. Then we get a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary bunch of engi­neers around the ta­ble, and we start talk­ing about how we would solve that prob­lem.

So ev­ery­body has a de­bate, and you could prob­a­bly con­tinue with that all day. But what we do at Dyson is we then make pro­to­types, so we’re able to work out if an idea is good or not. The quicker you can fail, the quicker you can get to the so­lu­tion and solve the prob­lem as well.

So it’s not a strike against their per­for­mance re­views if Dyson engi­neers fail at some­thing?

Ex­actly the op­po­site. If you spent six months de­lib­er­at­ing and think­ing about every­thing in an ab­stract from and it doesn’t work, that’s a prob­lem. But in re­al­ity, a lot of engi­neers can prob­a­bly test their ideas within one week or two weeks — we’ve got some of the most ad­vanced pro­to­typ­ing tools at all of our sites.

How do you bal­ance be­tween spend­ing a lot of time ex­per­i­ment­ing ver­sus de­cid­ing that enough time has been spent?

The in­ter­est­ing thing for Dyson is that we don’t fol­low tech­nol­ogy fads. We build our prod­ucts from the tech­nol­ogy up and we take a long time about do­ing that. We have thou­sands of prod­ucts that we’ve started and killed. We’ve prob­a­bly launched only about sixty prod­ucts in our whole his­tory. So it’s a very small amount of prod­ucts that we start that re­ally make it.

And that’s be­cause from Dyson’s per­spec­tive we are in­vest­ing £$7 mi­il­ion into R&D ev­ery week. For us to make that sus­tain­able, we need to make sure that the prod­ucts, when they’re launched, are a step change above any­thing else. It has to rev­o­lu­tion­ize the cat­e­gory.

How would you de­fine the word “in­no­va­tion”?

We talked about the spirit of in­ven­tive­ness quite a lot. In­vent­ing new tech­nolo­gies and solv­ing new prob­lems, I think that’s how com­pa­nies like Dyson progress, that’s how we make bet­ter tech­nol­ogy and hope­fully we ex­cite our own­ers bet­ter as well.

So, we talk about in­ven­tive­ness rather than in­no­va­tion. There’s a lot of real hard work that goes into all in­no­va­tions you see from Dyson or any­where else. So get­ting grounded, rolling your sleeves up and get­ting in the lab and re­ally try­ing to solve prob­lems is what we see as in­vent­ing. I don’t know if that’s what other peo­ple call in­no­va­tion, but we’re pretty much grounded in tech­nol­ogy and that’s where we build up.

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