Innovation, research and development
A Dyson case study

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Page 3: Developing a new Dyson

Dyson 4 Diagram 2After the success of the DC01 upright and DC02 cylinder cleaner, Dyson wanted to maintain its market leading position with more, innovative products. The Ansoff matrix below shows that a company should keep changing both in its target market and in its products. Existing products can be introduced to new markets, overseas for example, or a new product can be developed which will appeal to a new market sector.

One of the first results of Dyson’s research and development was the launch of the DC03, a new upright vacuum cleaner. DC03 was based on existing products (DC01 and DC02), but with further innovation, and made to appeal to a new market. The Ansoff matrix classifies this kind of activity product development. DC03 took a long time to develop from the idea stage to a product which could be sold through electrical retailers. This new product was to be a response to requests from consumers of the DC01 and DC02, ideas from the design team and the activity of the national and international market-place.

A questionnaire was sent out to existing customers about their Dyson, the other appliances they used and their lifestyle. 72,000 replies were sent back, along with over 5000 additional letters. In addition, everybody who works at Dyson makes their own vacuum cleaner and uses it at home so all staff have input about ways products could be changed or developed. They discovered, for example, that some consumers had a particular need for a vacuum cleaner which was very light and slim line. Customers still wanted to retain the thing they enjoyed about Dyson: the clear bin, integral hose and, most importantly, the fact that it does not lose its suction.

Competitive strategy

The vacuum cleaner also had to answer the current concerns of consumers about the air filtration of vacuum cleaners and how to clean all types of floor surface. These became some of the drivers behind the new design.

Dyson needed to make a thorough investigation of other vacuum cleaners available on the market, to assess where DC03 may fit in. Using varied resources such as trade magazines on the electrical industry, the Internet, in-store promotions and competitor literature, they were able to assess the impact the DC03 would have.

At Dyson, market research is not the main driver behind product development. For example market research indicated that consumers perceived a bigger motor meant a better cleaner. However, Dyson did not give into to pressure to fit a bigger motor. Dyson fitted the DC03 with a smaller, lighter, energy saving motor and engineered the machine to be more efficient. The air flow in DC03 has been designed so that a smaller motor is as effective as a larger one. Engineering research and development, and sometimes the intuition of the design engineers, provide Dyson with a competitive edge.

Dyson | Innovation, research and development