Opening of Dyson-SUTD Innovation Studios - Speech by Sir James Dyson

25 Nov 2022

Chairman of the Economic Development Board, Dr Beh Swan Gin,
President of SUTD, Professor Chong Tow Chong,
Friends of SUTD, the James Dyson Foundation and Dyson,
welcome to the new Dyson/SUTD Innovation Studios.
15 years ago, Dyson started out in Singapore with a small, and focused engineering team.
Our task was to develop, and make, the worlds fastest and smallest, digital, electric motor.
We chose Singapore because it's one of the few nations with the skills and supply chain to make such an exact piece of technology.
What began as a highly complex engineering project fraught with countless failures along the way has today changed the way millions around the world clean their homes and style their hair.
It was this tiny motor technology that has reduced the electricity needed for a vacuum cleaner – from 2,000 watts down to 200 watts – one tenth of the power usage. It also reduced the materials consumed in making a vacuum cleaner by 80%.
We have now manufactured 100 million of them right here in Singapore. This ‘made-in-Singapore’ motor is testament to the level of commitment Singapore has to innovation to technology and to engineers. That is ultimately why Singapore is also now our Global Headquarters.
My career as an engineer began – unconventionally – in design school.
But with products, I quickly realised that it is the technology and the engineering that is key.
I also saw that it was no use following the ‘status quo’ what everyone else is doing.
I discovered the importance of wrong thinking, which is the unconventional or obtuse way of doing things. Wrong thinking requires you to be bold to stray from the well-trodden path and make mistakes along the way. It leads to new discoveries and new radically better ways of doing things.
This is how Dyson approaches research, design and development.
It enables us to make new discoveries and for Dyson engineers to be pioneers of new technologies.
I believe that engineers are the worlds greatest problem solvers, and the world needs many more engineers.
The complexity of products today means that we need vastly more multidisciplinary engineers who can bring hardware and software together.
These studios will enable the brightest young minds at SUTD to discover how fulfilling solving problems can be.
Here, undergraduates will have the opportunity to come together to learn from Dyson engineers and to experiment in fields such as Engineering Design Intelligent Robotics 3D Printing and Machine Learning.
I can vouch for how rewarding and creative a lifetime of pioneering in the fields of engineering and science can be, and with the help of SUTD, the James Dyson Foundation will help young people experience this for themselves.
This is why the Studios will also be a space for students at school level to learn from Dyson engineers.
The studios will host prototyping workshops, giving them the vital skills they need to become design engineers and inventors of the future.
Singapore values and understands the important role engineers play in our future.
This, combined with its world class education system, make it a wonderful place to nurture bright young engineers.
The James Dyson Foundation committed S$3m earlier this year to support engineering education in Singapore.
This engineering studios are part of our wider commitment to encourage more young Singaporeans into engineering.
I would like to thank the Ministry of Education and the team from SUTD for all your efforts in making this space possible.
For the students here today, I hope you will make this space your own.
Dont be afraid to experiment, and test the boundaries of your ideas, even when it strays from what is expected. This is how the best solutions are found.
Build prototypes, test them, iterate, and challenge the status quo.
You should expect failure. Embrace it, since it is how we all learn.
I have no doubt that you will all be driving the future. I cant wait to see what you create.
Thank you.