I was young with heady visions – a Royal College of Art gate-crasher, full of expectations. Rather than quash my enthusiasm, Jeremy Fry showed me that dreams were achievable. He was my original mentor and it was Jeremy who gave me my first real taste of engineering.

Jeremy was suspicious of self-styled ‘experts’. He followed his instinct. He encouraged me to look at design beyond aesthetics and to think about how to make products better.

He taught me an iterative ‘Edisonian’ approach to research and development – lots of tiny step-by-step changes. You can’t be in a hurry, because invention isn’t a flash of inspiration, it’s a rigorous and scientific process. Innovation takes time, persistence and obsession.

Jeremy didn’t spend ages planning and sketching, he just went out, built his idea, and rebuilt it, until he got it right. I learnt not to be afraid of making mistakes. Jeremy’s influence still impacts the way we work at Dyson.

James Dyson


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