Dyson Appliances Ltd. and its Approach to Innovation

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : OPER087 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 +Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Innovation / Design / Culture / New Product Development

Case Length : 27 Pages
Period : 2000-2009
Organization : Dyson Appliances Ltd.
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Not Available
Countries : UK; Europe; US
Industry : Electricals & Electronics


This case discusses the innovation principles and processes adopted by Dyson Appliances Limited (DAL), a market leader in the vacuum cleaner market. Experts felt that product design was a core competency at DAL and the innovative designs of its product had enabled it to command a premium price in a market that was previously known for price discounting.

According to analysts, DAL's constant focus on innovation had led to its cornering a market share of 32 percent and 46 percent in the US and UK vacuum cleaner markets in 2008. Analysts attributed the success of the company to the innovation principles and processes institutionalized by DAL's founder James Dyson (Dyson).

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They felt that Dyson was the source of innovation at DAL. He is himself widely known as the inventor of the first bag less vacuum cleaner (DC01, DAL's first product) that took the vacuum cleaner market by storm in the early 1990s. Since then, he and his team had churned out innovative models of vacuum cleaners that had helped DAL gain a market leadership position. In addition to vacuum cleaners, its other products such as The Contrarotator (a washing machine) and Dyson Airblade (a hand dryer), were hailed by experts as being equally innovative. Analysts felt that DAL's deep-set culture of innovation gave it an edge over its competitors.

DAL approach to innovation drew inspiration from Thomas Alva Edison's (Edison) step-by-step approach where he made a single change to the prototype at a time in order to perfect his invention. Inspired by the thoughts of Edison, the engineering and design staff at DAL made a single change to the prototype that led to the launch of an innovative product. The case also discusses the integrated approach to design and development of new products adopted by engineers and design staff at the company, and how Dyson had fostered a culture of innovation at DAL.


Study the innovation principles and processes followed by DAL.
Study DAL's integrated approach to new product development and design.
Understand how Dyson fostered innovation and creativity at DAL and institutionalized a culture of innovation.
Understand how innovation helped DAL emerge as the leader in the vacuum cleaner industry.
Understand how innovation can lead to a competitive advantage and how DAL had developed a core competency in product design.


  Page No.
Yet Another Innovation at Dyson... 1
DAL - The Innovation Journey 3
The Drive to Innovate 5
Creating the Right Environment for Innovation 8
Nurturing a Culture of Creativity and Innovation 9
New Product Development and DAL's Integrated Approach to Designing 11
Cultivating the Ecosystem 14
Leading Through Innovation? 14
Looking Ahead 15
Exhibits 17


Innovation, Design innovation, Product design, Disruptive innovation, Incremental innovation, Radical innovation, Creativity, Computer Aided Design, New product development, Integrated approach, Core competency, Culture, Teamwork, Market leader, Dyson

Yet Another Innovation at Dyson... - Next Page>>

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