Sir James Dyson is a mightily impressive individual. His story of how many prototypes and investors he went through before he made it is legendary. I do feel though that Dyson as a company get a lot of hype for their levels of innovation on their £400 vacuum cleaners when a £100 ‘Henry’ hoover does the same job just as well and it built in the UK.
The same is true for hand driers and fans that Dyson have designed. Dyson sucks up (excuse the pun) a lot of really good design and engineering talent in the UK and they make expensive or ‘premium’ consumer products. Unfortunately, for all this talent nobodies life has ever been changed, saved or significantly altered by a vacuum cleaner!
That is why it is really good now to see the formation of the Dyson foundation and the annual awards that they give out to aid design and engineering ideas in other (IMO: more important) fields.