Sir James Dyson: the great reinventor - by Paola Totaro for The Australian
Updated: Sep 19, 2021
A stand-alone article worth its place as one of the most important articles we have published here at BringItBack.
James Dyson is one of Britain’s foremost inventor-entrepreneurs whose life achievements are an example to us all and the enclosed article provides a wide-ranging and fascinating glimpse into a man who has crammed more into his seventy-four years than most of us could dream of accomplishing in several life-times.
Disgracefully, this article was written not by a British journalist for an English publication, but by an Australian for The Australian and only came to our attention courtesy of one of our subscribers Down Under.
That alone tells its own story, and Dyson himself is scathing at the prevailing snobbery which still persists in this country around social attitudes towards careers in engineering, manufacturing and invention:
“It has become so powerful that there is some pride in not knowing anything about engineering. It’s the C.P. Snow analogy,” he adds, referring to the 1959 essay “The Two Cultures” in which the great scientist lamented the great cultural divide between science and the arts.
“In my view it has got worse since. People don’t go into engineering partly because they think it’s difficult but more so because it’s frowned upon…there was a recent survey which showed engineers are regarded as being even below being a vicar in status,” he says… “What is even worse,” he adds, “is the notion that manufacturing is “dirty, a bit beneath the curve.”
Nonetheless the scale and scope of what he has achieved is astonishing and now crucially, extends to those who come after him:
“I’m an ordinary person. I didn’t even do science at school and yet here I am developing new technology. I don’t want young people to be put off by what their education has been, or what people have told them they are, because actually, they can do whatever they want to do provided they are motivated.”
Dyson has set up his own Institute of Engineering and Technology after Jo Johnson, former Universities’ minister challenged the entrepreneur to do something about the shortage of engineers. The Institute is a gutsy experiment combining a traditional university’s academic rigour with hands-on and real-world experience working at Dyson. Students are paid a salary from day one, there are no tuition fees and in their first year they all live in the spectacular Wilkins-designed accommodation pods that punctuate the Wiltshire site.
At the end of their four-year degree, all students are offered a job with Dyson and the whole first crop of graduates have elected to stay on. Learning through doing, he says, defined his own life. “Unafraid to get your hands dirty to test something empirically to understand it properly.”
May his deeds and his words be forever seared across the foreheads of every Secretary of State for Education and their departmental ministers and may he act as an inspiration for many more to follow in his footsteps. The UK needs more like him!
The full article can be read here:
In addition you can also read this article from The Australian in pdf entitled:
James Dyson's autobiography pits him against the tide
Lightening Jet in James Dyson HQ Cafeteria - alamy.com