Key module concepts application
Dyson Airblade™ Hand dryer
The goal of this dissertation is to analyse an existing innovation and match it to main concepts of current innovation management theory. It is structured with a chapter dedicated to each main concepts of innovation management. My choice of Dyson Airblade hand dryer has been oriented by several drivers. The first driver is I like to see the imagination power of human brain and there is a lot of human brain resource in this product. Secondly, I’m even more impressed by innovations that significantly change very basic things in life that have stayed unchanged for decades. The third reason is that I like Dyson Company and James Dyson mind-set in general, be different, better, on our own made track. It was a good opportunity and a very interesting work to study an innovation I like with what I have learned from this course.
Washing hands is a simple and very basic activity in developed countries. However, when an organisation has to provide all the facilities to allow many people to wash their hands, it requires specific equipment. More particularly the possibility to dry hands needs to be provided. In this document, we will focus on a hand drying solution offered by a company called Dyson. This company is offering Vacuum cleaners, fans and heaters and hand dryers. In this document we will focus on Dyson Airblade1 product which combines multiple innovations to offer a hand drying appliance.
Dyson Airblade – Innovation Management
Source of innovation
New idea is the lifeblood of Dyson. With investing 50% of its profits into Research and Development, the company is determined to deliver innovative products. Its CEO James Dyson is an inventor perfectly matching with Melissa A. Schilling definition (Schilling, 2010:21)2 . He is dedicated to solving problems and the products have to always be new and better. With the success and the size of the company it has translated to firm Research and Development with more than 1000 engineers and scientists3 doing all kind of research, basic, applied and development (schilling, 2010:25)4. Dyson Company has its own research and development lab in Malmesbury, UK. This is all locked by secret and is very few information available on this facility. What is made public is that access is protected using finger print technology and only concerned people are allowed in each particular area5. Dyson Company interacts with the outside world through the Foundation James Dyson. The Foundation aim is to stimulate engineering and design innovation with helping students to discover their engineering potential6. James Dyson is funding research, and student projects7. With these actions, we can say that Dyson Company is using external source of innovation in addition to internal source of innovation relying on its absorptive capacity (Schilling, 2010:28)8. The innovation process within Dyson is based on iterative innovation (Anthony, 2012:232)9 and success through failure10. The process is to build prototypes and make them evolve small steps after small steps. This is a key strategic orientation for James Dyson. If your prototype performs better, you have progressed. If it is a failure, you can learn why it failed, you build up your knowledge and you are on a better position to improve it on next attempt. James Dyson often refers to Thomas Edison statement, “I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work.” (Lewis Dyer, 1910:986)11
The heart of this innovation is the Dyson Digital motor, a new type of high speed motor which is powerful and small at the same time. This motor is capable of creating a very fast airflow. Using this unique capability, Dyson company designed this hand dryer to generate a very thin sheet of air that flows at 400 Mph. When you move you hand in front of this airflow, it literally wipes off the water from your hands.
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