November 19, 2012
"Our engineers and scientists actually go and build their own prototypes and test the rigs themselves. And the reason we do that—and I don’t force people to do that, by the way, they want to do it—is that when you’re building the prototype, you start to really understand how it’s made and what it might do and where its weaknesses might be. If you merely hand a drawing to somebody and say, “Would you make this, please?” and in two weeks he comes back with it and you hand it to someone else who does the test, you’re not experiencing it. You’re not understanding it. You’re not feeling it. Our engineers and scientists love doing that."

Sir James Dyson, he of bagless vacuum cleaner fame, talks innovation, design, and entrepreneurship with Wired’s Shoshana Berger in How James Dyson Makes the Ordinary Extraordinary. I loved his description of the hands-on working environment he fosters at his company (above), while I also liked his take on patents, namely that they’re critically important when used correctly: 

If you really want to improve technology, if you want things to work better and be better, you’ve got to protect the person who spends a lot of effort, money, and time developing that new technology. But you can’t patent something that another skilled engineer in the field could have calculated or done with his basic knowledge.

You listening, Apple, with your patented page turn insanity?

And, well, now that we’re on the topic of patents, I loved this recent tweet from hacker/artist, Zach Lieberman:

So what happened next? I asked. Lieberman’s reply:

That link details changes to US patent law that came into effect in September, and those that will kick in in March of next year. It’s well worth a look…

May 21, 2012
"Risk aversion is a hapless approach for a company that’s hoping to develop new technology. It’s tempting in a downturn. But long-term research and development, expensive and often filled with failure as it is, is the only route to discovering it. By taking the cautious path, companies risk a drought of ideas. During the downturn we have doubled our team of engineers and scientists and ramped up investment in research and development."

Sir James Dyson, founder of Dyson, outlines his approach to innovation, design and risk management, critical when the economic chips are down.