The James Dyson Award is back and it’s bigger than ever. Do you have an invention that solves a problem? We want to hear about it. The international winner will receive £30,000 to kick-start their project plus £5,000 for their university.
Last week, James Dyson was recognised at the Financial Times Boldness in Business Awards. Speaking at the event, James said “failure is more instructive than success, as long as you bounce back up”.
There was a time in our history when all people knew Dyson for was vacuums. But what began with one man and one idea inside a coach house in Wiltshire, has since transformed into a 10,000 strong global technology company spanning multiple product categories and more than 75 countries around the world. A lot has changed since the first DC01 rolled off the production line.
But some things remain the same. The start-up mentality of our early days still runs through Dyson today, led by our Founder and Chief Engineer – James Dyson himself. We’re family owned, which means that, unlike our rivals, we still take chances. Not beholden to anonymous shareholders, a series of calculated risks has transformed Dyson from a single product company making vacuum cleaners, to designers of revolutionary hand dryers, fans, lighting, hair care and the more recently announced battery electric vehicle.
This rapid expansion continues the ever present theme at Dyson: continually transforming ourselves, while always keeping alive the spirit of relentless improvement and obsessive perfectionism that makes Dyson, ‘Dyson’. Changing what we do, but never changing the way we do it.
The challenge: design and develop an intelligent machine based on one of the following themes: The Connected Home, Gamification of Dyson Products and Accessibility through Usability. And do it all in 24 hours.
Great engineers are obsessive problem solvers. When they leave the workshop, the engineering thinking comes with them. And at Dyson, our in-house design challenges ensure that the brilliant minds working in our RDD labs get to indulge this passion, regularly. Previous years saw 14 teams challenged to create remote control karts that needed to be strong enough to tackle the treacherous race course. All with just cardboard, a motor and a battery. Click here to watch more.
Andrew Watson | Connecting our future
Andrew joined us 10 months ago as the Head of Machine Learning. He has a wealth of experience in software as well as an MSc in Machine Learning and Data Mining. At Dyson, Andrew is responsible for defining the machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data vision for Dyson’s future products. We spoke to Andrew about his time here so far and his plans for the not so distant future.
Is working at Dyson what you expected?
I was excited at the prospect of working here, all my family and friends (including those half way across the world in Australia!) have heard of Dyson. We are known for defying convention through our technology and constantly ‘wowing’ customers with new and exciting products. I didn’t expect to have as much freedom as I do to change something, having the opportunity to challenge people, and see results within days. It’s very different to anywhere I’ve worked before but I’m inspired daily by the people around me, the sheer wealth of knowledge and the motivation to maintain the reputation that’s been built. I didn’t want to have too many preconceptions as it’s quite a mystery on the outside, but I’m enjoying taking on new challenges.
What’s unique about Dyson?
Firstly, it’s great living and working in the countryside whilst at the global headquarters. It’s an ever-expanding vast space in Malmesbury and fits perfectly with the philosophy of Dyson. Recently, we announced the plans for a 517 acre second campus opening at Hullavington. We’re not just another company in the city and it’s definitely not just another job to add to the list. Collectively, we have the opportunity to influence the future of Dyson machines. The attitude tends to be ‘if something can be changed, let’s try it and see what happens’. Ideas become tangible very quickly and that’s something I didn’t expect in such a large organisation.
What does your role involve?
My job is to demonstrate how we can apply machine learning, AI and big data to our machines. I work with teams of designers, scientists, research engineers and senior managers daily. I advise on how to optimise our machines; identifying problems, risks and finding unique solutions. Ultimately, we can make our machines more intelligent and make people’s lives easier. Introducing these technologies to more machines will reduce the tedious interactions we need to make. James Dyson recently opened the new Singapore Tech Centre which presents a global opportunity for the development of robotics, software, the digital motor and so much more. But it doesn’t stop with developing existing product categories. I’m constantly thinking ahead and considering our future, transforming the categories we are yet to enter.
What does the future look like?
I’m fascinated by the interaction between the human and machine. But the machines still require too much direction to operate at their best. How can the machine itself optimise its own performance? To achieve our goals, I need inquisitive minds. People who will have the courage to stand up and challenge what’s out there. Defy convention. I need people who can apply their research and knowledge into developing our technology for the better. The crux of what we do in machine learning is reducing cognitive load for the user and understanding where we can add value. I’m looking for people who are commercially aware, have a passion for technology and who have a vision for the future. We can’t say specifically what’s coming next but the important part is having the ability to look forward and build on the success of Dyson.
For more information and current opportunities click here
Dyson is unusual. We don't always get things right. But fighting to do it our way is a matter of pride. And something that we’ll not give up lightly.
So instead of expecting consultants and external suppliers to feel the same burning ambition to improve and innovate that we do, we bring specialist talent into Dyson – then give them the world class facilities the job requires. Because if a job's worth doing, we think it's worth doing ourselves.
Our ambitious growth plans can only be realised by growing equally ambitious people. So at Dyson, talent development means ensuring that we get the most out of our people, and that everyone gets the most out of Dyson.
We're supporting leaders in spotting potential at every level, driving personal development through best-in-class learning and skills training, and opening new career directions inside Dyson.
So if you've got the ambition to match ours, there's no better place to develop your career, than here.
I have been working at Dyson full-time (More than 10 years)
Great People, great products, great technology.
Nothing I can think of.
Advice to Management
Keep making bold decisions.
I applied online. I interviewed at Dyson (Chicago, IL (US)) in March 2017.
This was a four step process: 1. Online application 2. HireVue video interview 3. 2 assessment tests 4. An in-person group "get to know you" at the Dyson HQ in Chicago. Part 4. consisted of different group activities (with other candidates) and 5 individual interviews with various members of the team.
The entire process proved to me that Dyson is willing to put in the time and effort when it comes to picking the best candidates and making sure the culture is the right fit on both ends. The entire experience was amazing and made me love this amazing company!