Sir James Dyson (yes – the same guy who makes the best selling vacuum cleaners by revenue in the U.S. and one of the richest blokes in Britain) spent 15 years and nearly his entire life savings to develop his bagless see-through creation.
His latest innovation? A hand-dryer that uses neither heat nor evaporation. It only took three years to develop, primarily because of his grinding error-filled approach and a culture unafraid of retribution.
If you learn to fail – fail fast, fail forward, and hopefully fail cheap – you develop the persistence to slug through even the most adverse conditions to get there in the end. But like Dyson, it may take 5,126 failures before you finally get it right. But if you learn from each one, you are destined to come up with a solution. Those who try strange things and experience lots of failures are more creative in the manner in which they get there.
I am amazed how often we are taught whether in school, in new hire training, or as aspiring management leaders to do things the right way. Isn’t it interesting that if you want to discover something that other people haven’t tried, you need to do things the wrong way? It’s amazing how often the unthinkable, silly, outrageous, dangerous or outright off the deep end can create previously unimaginable paths to even greater success.
The new Dyson hand-dryer is a result of the 10-year development of a vacuum cleaner motor that runs three times faster than other motors. Dyson figured out that if you can push air through a sliver of space and create what he calls “air blades,” it can literally wipe water off your hands. By the way, air blades dry your hands in 10 seconds instead of the 40 seconds it takes a traditional hot air dryer, which means it uses less than _ of the energy.
In last month’s newsletter, I alluded to Jim Collins’ Hedgehog concept, which highlighted three simple questions so very applicable in relationship-centric cultures:
1 – What are you so passionate about that can drive you as a guiding light?
2 – What can you become the best in the world at, compelling others to seek you out?
3 – What can you focus on that is economically viable to sustain your passion and drive your competencies?
I would submit in someone like Sir Dyson, it is his brilliant perseverance vs. the instant gratification in an effortless brilliance.