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Club Delville Breakfast meeting with Martin McCourt, former CEO of Dyson

Martin McCourt, Montagu Private Equity

On 22nd of January, Delville Management was proud to welcome Martin McCourt, as first guest speaker in London, for Club Delville Breakfast meetings. 

Big ideas drive big growth, that was the message the former CEO of Dyson at the first Club Delville UK breakfast.

Delville Management provide Interim Management solutions and networking breakfasts, such as these, are part of their expansion in to the UK.

There will be a speaker at each breakfast and Martin McCourt took the stage at the London Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

McCourt was CEO of Dyson for 15 years and oversaw the company’s astronomical rise. He is now a Director at Montagu Private Equity but it was how the big ideas at Dyson inspired huge growth that he presented.

After joking that he was very disappointed not to find a Dyson Airblade hand dryer in the bathroom, McCourt gave an example of what a creative environment there was at Dyson and how that drove the company to success.

He recalled being called down to the lab where the developers wanted to show him something.

“You never say no to one of those invitations – the lab is like one of those James Bond Q moments.”

However, what he saw was not what he was expecting.

The team had set up dozens of Dyson air multiplier’s (a type of bladeless fan) around the room and was using them to move a balloon from one side of the lab to another. He had a video. It was more interesting than it sounds (please see above).

McCourt said that his first thought was “what are we paying you for? Are all your projects on time?” but that he soon realised that it was a symptom of what a creative culture there was at Dyson.

McCourt says that to nurture a free flow of ideas from creative people you need to “just lift the lid off completely and encourage everything to come out”.

He then illustrated what can happen when companies don’t embrace creativity by showing a video clip from the Money Show in the mid-nineties where an executive from Hoover said that he wished they had taken James Dyson’s offer of the bagless vacuum cleaner so that they could prevent it from seeing the light of day.

McCourt went on to tell how rival firms tried to copy patented technology and get Dyson’s advertising campaigns banned.

In a speech full of panache and anecdotes McCourt explained how Dyson managed to turn every piece of adversity into opportunity and end up the market leader.

Delville will be holding breakfast meetings throughout the year.

By HR Grapevine