How Rules Drive Innovation

Robin Kwong
Newsroom Innovation Chief at The Wall Street Journal. Exploring the future of journalism through the lens of technology, design and the power of emotions.

Take a deep dive into How Rules Drive Innovation with this hand-curated series of 7 time-tested articles and videos from around the web. We’ll guide you through, one link per day, in the app or in your inbox.

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Intro
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I love a good set of rules. They set boundaries for behaviour and simplify complex situations. This is especially helpful in innovation because doing new things is, almost by definition, messy and uncertain.


When someone proclaims their X rules for Y, I don’t see those as edicts that I have to follow to the letter. Instead, they’re like poetry — a distillation of that person’s beliefs, experiences, and aspirations for a field they care deeply about.

This deep dive takes you through seven lists of rules that have shaped my innovation work.


Robin Kwong is Newsroom Innovation Chief at The Wall Street Journal. Exploring the future of journalism through the lens of technology, design and the power of emotions. He's also the creator of the Uber Game.


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  • Good design and 6 other articles
  • Topics covered: design, work, creativity, principles, manifesto
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Glad to see you made it all the way through this Deep Dive. We hope you found it useful and can put some of the insights to good use in your own daily life.

How does it work?

Day 1
...
Day 7
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Deep Dives are carefully hand-curated series of time-tested articles and videos from around the web.

We’ll guide you through, one link per day, in the app or in your inbox.

Deep Dives come in bites that are short enough to fit in your day...

...but add up to a satisfying learning experience.

Kelly's 14 Rules & Practices are the OG principles for setting up a small team to work, unhindered by bureaucracy, on advanced or innovative projects.

Robin Kwong

Decades after Kelly’s original Skunk Works, small teams doing important work are the default across startups and many other industries besides aerospace.

Robin Kwong

While this is specifically about getting things done at NASA, it is also the most comprehensive and useful guide to getting things done...anywhere.

Robin Kwong

Don’t let Tom Peters’ all-caps and bright red fonts turn you off. And always remember: Hard is soft, and soft is hard.

Robin Kwong

Design is everywhere, and we all practice it to some degree. Dieter Rams’ principles are designed (sorry!) to guide us on how to break through “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.”

Robin Kwong

Innovation is often about creating a space as much as it is about new products or services. How to do so inclusively and productively? Public arts has (some of) the answers.

Robin Kwong

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this deep dive and drew inspiration from the rules.


I highly recommend writing your own manifesto. It is a great exercise for raising self-awareness by forcing you to distil your core beliefs and values into simple, declarative statements.


You don’t have to proclaim your rules from the rooftops or force your way of working onto others, but simply having a manifesto gives you the chance to review it several years later and see where and how you have grown.

Robin Kwong

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