Innovation Strategy: A Case Study

An innovation strategy allows organisations to set themselves apart - we uncover what it takes to build a success strategy by looking at Dyson.

Successful organisations worldwide stay ahead of their competition by incorporating an innovation strategy. Today, buzzwords like ‘disruption’ and ‘design thinking’ have become somewhat of a norm in practice. Consequently, the need for companies to efficiently innovate is more prevalent than ever. In spite of this growing need, decision-makers still struggle with building an effective innovation strategy. This could be because they find the process of developing ideas arduous and intimidating. Hence, to make this topic more digestible, we have chosen to discuss the innovation strategy of tech giants, Dyson.

Chemistry, Service Design Agency in Singapore, creating story board at the visa workshop

It’s easier said than done.

The manner of implementation is a key aspect of an innovation strategy. Unfortunately, many companies struggle when attempting to manage strategic change. In light of this, companies should place its focus onto practical processes. This includes designing products and services with a user-centered mindset. However, in order for this key form of innovation to take place, the strategy has to ensure that the organization as a whole facilitates the process. This encompasses the companies culture and management processes working toward creating an appropriate, conducive environment for innovation.

An Innovation Strategy precedes change

A key takeaway from this is that positive change cannot occur if the organisation does not embrace change at all. In brief, keeping an open-mind to new business approaches and calculated risks are prerequisites. We understand that it can be quite intimidating to take business risks. However, it is undeniable that true innovation is often risky. It is prudent to realise that these risks should not be taken willy-nilly. In fact, a large portion of innovation strategy is the careful calculation of risk through tools like the design thinking process. In sum, an innovation strategy requires organisations to loosen up from rigidity when it comes to ideation, but maintain a sense of business vigilance during implementation.

Case study:

Dyson's innovative cyclonic vacuum schematic
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Dyson’s Innovation Strategy

With his fundamentals rooted deep in the arts, Sir James Dyson innovated like a designer. This meant that he would firstly try and completely rethink the product. In the case of his world famous vacuum cleaner, he replaced the regular bag with his patented dual-cyclone tower. His first iteration of the cyclone was prototyped using pieces of cardboard attached to a disassembled Hoover vacuum. It was through multiple phases of experimentation, testing, failure, and continual reiteration that he created the product we know today.

Air Multiplier Tech

Completely overhauling a product before slowly and incrementally innovating from that initial change had become Dyson’s innovation SOP. This process has grown to become Dyson’s innovation strategy to this day. The technology that we see in their blade-less, silent standing fans and hairdryers are other great examples of this. In 2006, the company realised that bathroom hand dryers had fundamental design flaws. In addition to an unergonomic spread hot air, these old designs were known for blowing bacteria and viruses out of its system. This was when the aforementioned process came into play one again. Their complete reimagination of the technology utilised 430mph sheets of air to dry hands quickly and hygienically in 10-12 seconds.

Dyson's air multiplier technology
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Further development of this new system resulted in the patented Air Multiplier technology in their bladeless fans. The same technology draws air in through the base of the fan and forces it out of the circular frame silently. Furthermore, continued reiteration and research led to the use of this technology in their hairdryers. In 2016, as a result of almost a $100 million dollars of research and the creation of an entirely new lab, the Supersonic hairdryer was created . The team managed to create their smallest and most technologically advanced motor and managed to fit it into the handle of the dryer.

Why does this work?

The continual success of Dyson spawns from their ability to push the boundaries of what we believe to be possible. It takes more than the commemorable amount of courage this requires. The company’s openness to radical innovation and commitment to proper prototyping and testing sets them apart from the rest. In sum, these attributes have solidified themselves as the key aspects of Dyson’s innovation strategy. The company’s ability to reimagine technology to new levels of novelty will continue to help them disrupt markets and stay way ahead of the game.

How can we help develop an innovation strategy in your organisation?

When building strategic innovation in any organisation, Chemistry Team starts from the core and create a culture of continuous improvement and creativity. Above all, we always advise all of our clients to be open to new ideas from employees, customers, suppliers, partners and other stakeholders. Certainly, these opportunities challenge and enhance through discussion. And as a result, this can be the start of growing something amazing.

Let’s start the discussion and see how we can help!

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