Ace Ideas, Bad Ideas

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Does it do the job?  What it? Any it.  So does it do the job?

Well whatever it is, it had better do the job, that’s important, fundamental, a given.  Does it look good too?  Does that matter? Answer YES!

A great example of function + design = good, no scratch that, GREAT products is Dyson.  Yes, the vacuum cleaner company.  The company that designed the… funky ballbarrow, countless vacuum cleaners, the airblade hand-drying system and now the hot + cool fan heater.  Ballbarrow, now that’s a good one, perhaps his best.  Just think 5000 years on a wheel and hey presto an upgrade on the design.

Fantastic!

These days there are around 750 engineers designing products, building products and testing products.  They are the ones with the really bright ideas.  I’m certain that most of the ideas don’t make it off the page, but hey why not try?  Dyson uses the now familiar Japanese approach;  Sony invented the Walkman using the same process.  Invent loads of stuff, and I mean absolutly loads of stuff, the funkier, the more off the wall the better and that’s how Sony Corp. found the Walkman – Genius.  Yes but hey, how much stuff did they get through to get that one? I don’t know but it must have been a stack of stuff.

So Dyson believes in loads of inventions, getting things wrong, setting a course for the unanticipated, it’s a plan.  It’s an interesting approach, it took him 5127 prototypes and 15 years to perfect the bagless vacuum cleaner.  It was launched under the Dyson brand and called DC01 and within 2 years it was the best-selling vacuum cleaner in the UK.

His motivation… solve a problem, how to make a vacuum that didn’t lose suction.  Problems, life’s little ones, now they are the mother and father of invention.  If you are gonna be an inventor, an innovator begin with a problem and solve it good and proper.  Same approach with his new fan.  The problem how to have a fan that didn’t cause buffeting of the air flow.  Now let me tell you, I’ve been around a bit and slept in some not so high-class, hot and sticky places where air-con is not an option (a 5 Rupee a night Ashram on the top floor right next door to the meditation and yoga room as just one of them).  Enter the humble fan to keep you cool at night while you sleep (try to anyway), and sure enough the buffeting is annoying, so annoying you don’t actually sleep until you can’t possibly do anything but and by that point the fan doesn’t matter, so GO Dyson! Gets my vote.

Dyson also believes in youth.  Great idea that one, I couldn’t agree more, but…

You gotta make sure they know that it’s not just about research and theory.  They have gotta be creative, practical and not least inspiring to their fellow young designers.

So how would we generate young designers, engineers; when it would seem we are more than capable of having universities spilling over with media types but no engineers?

Well, it’s a concern, that much is true.  It’s actually down to the teachers, lectures, those who impart the knowledge.  They have gotta make it stimulating, its got to ignite the innate curiosity.  The subject has to stand apart.  In short its gonna have to attract the best, most creative, most open-minded, inquisitive types.  They gotta be allowed, no scratch that too, encouraged to pull things apart, de-construct, reverse engineer to see how things work, and more importantly how they could work better.  And when they get it (yes, could be any it) to work better, reward them, reward them well.

Its perseverance, not giving up when the world seems to be against you, that’s the point when you should push a little harder.  Just when everybody else is slowing down, they’ve got the answer, well that’s when you need to push through, try just a bit more.

So, does it do the job?  But, does it do the job better than the competion?  And, when its doing the job does it look good?

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