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7 January 2010

Ask James Dyson

Today my 'Ask James Dyson' question appeared in the The Times Eureka magazine suppliment, along with a very informative reply from the man himself.

I heartily recommend Eureka - a thought provoking, topical, well presented, cross-generation magazine - published as a supplement in The Times every first Thursday of the month.

The question and response from the Times Online Ask James Dyson page is shown below.

David Briddock asks: Are you at your most creative when alone or in a group of like-minded individuals, and do you prefer to work with drawings or 3D models and prototypes?

James Dyson: Ideas do come to mind when I’m alone; call it engineering instinct. In fact I find long-distance running helps when mulling over an idea. But it’s when I’m working alongside our engineering team — all with different areas of expertise, from aerodynamics to microbiology — that we really solve problems.

When I first started out, the onus was on sketching and painstakingly building rig after rig. That’s still part of the design process at Dyson, but we can now use computer-aided design to tweak ideas and shave millimetres off parts to optimize performance. We also use rapid prototyping machines to create entire working models in a matter of hours. Modelling will never replace the simple good idea, but it speeds up experimentation.