Days before our interview at Dyson HQ in Malmesbury, Sir James Dyson celebrated his 70th birthday. While touring the 129 on-site research and development laboratories, virtually every one of the 3500 engineers and scientists he employs reminds me to wish him many happy returns.
Meandering along an almost military eight-hour tour through the sprawling maze of motor manufacturing rooms, electromagnetic chambers, and specialist “hair laboratories”, people with impenetrably complex jobs introduce themselves and begin to describe their specific role in the creation of the 13 million machines Dyson sells each year. Again, almost everyone cites a different workplace philosophy that they ascribe to their leader, Sir James Dyson, and which they call “The Dyson Way”.
These are often variants on a theme, such as ‘there’s no such thing as a bad idea’ or ‘we don’t like to think of Dyson as a brand’, and the employees appear to believe whole-heartedly in this way of life.