Dyson's Secret to Success: A Development First Approach

Posted on May 15, 2017 by Media Culture

In the mid 1990s, the name Dyson meant very little to the home electronics sector.

It was just a man and a vacuum cleaner that took 15 years and 5,000 prototypes to perfect. Today, however, Dyson is handily a leader in high-end home appliances that go beyond corded vacuum cleaners. It’s all because of how founder James Dyson approaches his products.

A focus on research and development

Dyson is a far cry from the small workshop where it began, but even today the company’s $3.1 billion in revenue can be traced back to that humble start.

Dyson has chosen to take a technology-first approach to products. In essence, its founder has declared that if the company builds it, consumers will come. This applies to both fast to develop products and those that may take decades to perfect.

A case-in-point also happens to be one of the newest members of the Dyson family. What started as a plan to quickly release a robot cleaning machine turned into a 20-year quest to perfect the technology before sending it to market. The tens of millions of dollars invested in the R&D of the Dyson cleaner has created a product that premium consumers are loving. Priced at $1,000, Dyson’s robot cleaner is not only able to navigate rooms, surfaces and homes intelligently, but it can also send reports and heat maps of where it has cleaned to an app on your mobile phone.

A bright future 

As Dyson expands into other products, there are likely to be some failures, like the Dyson washing machine that debuted in 2000, but most of what Dyson builds is so carefully considered that everything’s coming up roses.

A recent acquisition of Sakti3, a Michigan-based startup that specializes in solid-state batteries, as well as the hiring of executives from Tesla and Aston Martin, may point to a Dyson-designed electric car on the horizon. Company officials deny this product is in development, however.

Regardless of whether the future brings a new kind of electric car to the market, Dyson’s unlikely combination of innovative inventors and a strong following with customers with high amounts of disposable income is likely to spell success again and again.

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