For inventor Sir James Dyson, innovation is simple: "A lot of things don't work very well"

Sir James Dyson
Sir James Dyson 04:52

Dyson is a company known for its bold designs and unique reinventions of common household products like the world's first bagless vacuum cleaner, high-velocity hand dryers and bladeless fans. Sir James Dyson, the company's founder and chief engineer, joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss their decision to branch out into retail, what's at the heart of their technology, and why he wants to get in the car business. 

Dyson's flagship demo store in New York City opens Thursday, giving people the chance to get hands-on with the products.

"We're putting more and more technology into products which need explaining. People need to be able to tell the difference," Dyson said. "We're trying to break conventions. You think battery machines are useless, batteries fade. Ours don't. So we want people to be able to see that."  

At the heart of their technology and design, Dyson said, is the idea of making things smaller and more efficient.

"The motor that's in our hair dryer, for example, is about a quarter of the size of a normal hair dryer motor and the quarter of the weight. We put it in the handle," he said. "If you get the basic technology right and you get breakthroughs, you can design really interesting, significant technology around it. But technology is the most important thing."

Dyson looks to electrify hair dryer industry 04:14

Despite being known for household products and smaller appliances, the company has larger ambitions to get into the car business.

"I've had this burning desire to have a form of transport other than an IC [internal combustion] engine, other than something that belches out nasty stuff because petrol engines send out nasty stuff," he said.

He's also tackling the growing shortage of engineers. When Dyson complained to the minister of education that there weren't enough engineers, he told him, start your own. And Dyson did.

"It took me about three seconds to say yes. He's created a new act to allow people like me to start universities. So it will be within the company, they'll work in the company, they'll work on new inventions and take products into production. Then they'll have two days a week doing academic studies," Dyson said. 

Dyson also pays them a salary during the four-year program and at the end of it they've got a job at the company should they choose to stay.

For Dyson, the motivation to innovate is quite simple.

"A lot of things don't work very well or there's something you don't like about it, and so we set about getting rid of that and, you know, other people aren't bothering to do that."