Unlocking the Future

Rogue Interrobang exists to unlock the future. Your future as an individual. Your future as an organisation. All of our futures as human beings.

We live in a world that is changing more quickly, and with wider and greater impact, than at any time in our history. This change presents us with unprecedented challenges in the form of wicked problems, many of our own making, such as climate change, artificial intelligence, food security, pandemic threat, and augmented humanity.

If we as a species are going to thrive, even to survive, we have no choice but to tackle these challenges head on.

Our belief at Rogue Interrobang is simple – that tackling these challenges is not just a necessity but a possibility. But it is only a possibility if we empower every single human being to devote their full resources to the task.

And that is what we exist to do – to unlock everyone’s potential by providing the skills people need to adapt the vast reserves of knowledge we have at our fingertips to every challenge this constantly shifting landscape brings.

Rogue Interrobang logo by Lawston Design

About Us

Rogue Interrobang was founded by Dan Holloway. Dan was the Creative Thinking World Champion in 2016 and 2017. In 2017 he won the Oxford University Humanities Innovation challenge with Mycelium, a creative thinking game based on research into the memory methods of mediaeval monks and the MRI scans of jazz musicians. The principles behind Mycelium form the basis of much of our training, but you can also just play it as a fun, addictive card game – that just happens to kit your brain out for the twenty first century.

For more than two decades Dan has been unlocking people’s potential, as a teacher philosophy, critical thinking, and essay technique; as an editor helping people express their ideas more clearly; as a campaigner on mental health and finance; as a speaker, journalist, writer, and performer; and as a trainer helping intelligence analysts use data more smartly.

We offer training and consultancy based on techniques developed to build on our expertise and research, and designed to enable you to maximise your impact on the world, whether you have an idea you have to share, a solution you need to work on, or a workforce whose potential is currently untapped.

Because we believe in maximising and accelerating impact, we believe in giving you the tools necessary to help build a better future by using your skills, knowledge, and experience as effectively as possible and having the ability to adapt to whatever the world throws at you.

But we also act and campaign directly where we believe we are best placed to make a difference.

Helping you Build a Better World

Today, organizations, companies, even whole business sectors with vaults of expertise built up over centuries find themselves in a world that feels increasingly alien, facing wicked problems from their environment; and agile challengers native to this new landscape.

They are keenly aware that the cost of getting their response wrong is more than lost bottom line; it is an existential one.

They know they need to adapt but they don’t know how.

We believe succeeding in the next 10 years needn’t mean ditching the expertise built over the last 100. Just adapting it.

We offer training grounded in neuroscience research that aims to develop those brain activities most associated with the ability to fluidly form new connections between seemingly unlinked areas of knowledge, meaning that innovation and adaptability will come more naturally to you.

Because we believe in the importance of maximising positive impact on the world, we have designed a training programme that gives you the general skills you need to tackle any problem, rather than focusing on this or that one problem. Essentially, we give you the master tool to then make your own tools according to your needs. That way you spend less time in training and more time doing what matters – making the world better.

But we also recognise that sometimes you want help with a particular problem. Maybe you need a fresh perspective. Or maybe a problem is so wicked that you need a very special suite of tools to crack it. We can help in these situations too. And, without taking our eyes off the project at hand, we will help you identify ways in which even the most task-specific approach can be applied elsewhere. Because while training is rarely wasted, it is often not applied as broadly or effectively as it could be.

We try to take this approach as much as we can – making sure you spend as little time with us as possible. Because we don’t want to be trainers. We want to be enablers – making sure you do the most good you can. Of course some of that is training. But a lot of it means we work behind the scenes – developing tools for you, answering questions, finding new ways to use your skills, offering just the right level of support while providing just the right level of challenge for your team so they maintain a regular level of deep practice that will embed the skills we introduced while we were training, meaning they can do more good, more quickly.

Our programmes and services include

Generalised Innovation and Adaptability

Narrative Analysis

Creative Thinking

Unlocking the Potential of a Neurodivergent Workforce

A full range of editorial and copywriting skills to maximise the impact of your ideas

Fully bespoke consultancy

You can find full details of these services and programmes here.

Making a Difference

We believe in making the maximum possible impact, and that means, in most cases, empowering those with the expertise in key areas. But there are also areas where we have the expertise to make a direct impact, and where that is the case, we intend to do so.

We are always looking for ways to use our skills to make a difference, from thought sprints and hackathons, which have led to the production of a green paper outlining the technology needed to create an autistic-accessible recruitment tool, to longer term projects.

The following are key areas in which we look to make a direct impact.

Idea Exchange/Open Paper – we believe that a good idea can come from anywhere.  but we also know that the ideas that have the greatest impact are the ones that reach the right places, and these two things can conflict with one another. So we want to create a place where the most pressing problems find the best solutions; where anyone can post anything from a brief outline of an idea to a green paper; where anyone with suitable skills can work on an idea for which they have a passion; where anyone who has access to a platform can amplify those ideas and help make them real; and where the person who had the initial idea is given every possible resource to lead the project.

Free to Dream Scholarships – too many people with incredible talents and remarkable ideas are, through accidents of circumstance, languishing in jobs where they are unable to use those skills or pursue those ideas, and as a result we all lose. We would like to establish a series of scholarships to enable people to pursue their ideas and use their talents whilst in the work they need in order to survive, by providing them with course fees where necessary, and by providing their employers with cover for whatever period is necessary.

Igniting Others – through talks, presentations, panel slots and media appearances; and by providing skills people need to help make their ideas real.

Changing the Landscape – through thought leadership and campaigning. In particular we believe in the importance of all projects including those whose lived experience falls several standard deviations from the norm and whose needs may otherwise go unconsidered. We believe this involvement should be fairly compensated and that whilst “experts by experience” are essential, such individuals may also be experts in many other ways and should have (adequately compensated) access to all processes on which they are giving their input so that the full extent of their expertise can be of benefit.

Booking an appearanceyou can find media links here. Please email rogueinterrobang@gmail.com if you would like to discuss a talk, presentation, paper or media appearance. In particular, please get in touch about the following subjects:
– Mental health and neurodivergence, especially empowering people within the workplace
– Universal Basic Income
– Creativity and Innovation
– The Future of Work
–  21st Century Problems (AI, transhumanism, climate change, food security, clean oceans) and the importance of empowering everyone to contribute to the solutions
– Ensuring Higher Education is more inclusive and makes the greatest possible impact for good


Visit the Mycelium website for twice weekly challenges.


The mycelium is the root network of a fungus. The largest living organism in the world is a mycelium in Oregon that’s 2 and a half miles across and thousands of years old. It is the perfect metaphor for the potential of the human mind to create vast new networks.

Tapping into Ancient and Modern Research on Creativity

The principles behind Mycelium draw from the occult systems of mediaeval heretics and the findings of recent neuroimaging research, boiled down into an easy to play game that primes the brain with everything it needs to be more creative.

We think of the imagination as something wonderful. And it is. Wonderful, and powerful. But several hundred years ago it was precisely these qualities that landed some of the pioneers of the art of memory in trouble. People had been using visual techniques, early forms of what we might think of as a mind palace, to memorise things since ancient Greece. These systems all involve the same principle – taking a set of things you know, such as the items in a room of your house, and linking them with things you would like to know, such as items on a shopping list. Then, as you mentally wander around the room you can pick up the items you wanted to remember as you go.

In mediaeval Europe these systems became ever more elaborate, and as well as linking things you wanted to know with things you wanted to remember, more and more emphasis got placed on the nature of those links. Linking things became, in itself, part of the imaginative process, in the same way we think of it today. One of the earliest pioneers of this was Ramon Lull, whose system of “memory wheels” could create vast numbers of connections between things.

However, these techniques were controversial. Many who practised them were considered heretics, practitioners of the dark arts of alchemy and guardians of occult secrets. One of the most famous practitioners of these mind-expanding techniques was Giordano Bruno, who came to Oxford in 1583 teaching people his version of Lull’s imaginative techniques.

By this time Puritan ideas had begun to take hold in England, and Bruno’s audiences were shocked. Instead of images, they followed the rather dour scholar Peter Ramus, who devised a system of memorising things using only words, by dividing the world up into more and more subcategories so you literally knew where everything fitted. This emphasis on using only words arose because the Puritans were deeply suspicious of the imagination, because they believed that it had the power to make the things you pictured in your mind real. As they had done in the ancient world, and as they do today, the memory artists of the 16th century, like Bruno, used things they knew as anchors for their mental gymnastics. Unfortunately, one of the things they knew best was the set of astrological charts. Combine this with the Puritan belief that images could make things real, and you can see why these memorists were accused of summoning demons! Indeed, 20 years after visiting Oxford, Bruno was burned at the stake!

Some 500 years later, neuroimaging research on the brains of creative artists and memory athletes suggests that a lot of what those mediaeval heretics were doing was right on target. Specifically, studies have thrown up three ways in which brains can be better primed for creativity.

  1. Research on memory athletes has shown that those who use visual memorisation techniques form more connections in their associative cortex areas. Using pictures works. And linking things works. And the more and varied those images are the better. They are the building blocks from which you will grow your creative imaginings.
  2. Research on artists who improvise a lot, like jazz musicians, shows that the key to their ability to do this, to open their minds up, is that the frontal areas of their brains, the bits that act as our self-censors and judges, shut down temporarily. In other words, if you want to be creative, learn to be OK with making a fool of yourself. Just chill.
  3. If the first two are things that can be trained over time, this is something that we can learn to do while we are in the process of being creative. It seems that it matters what we do in the gaps between bursts of creativity. Specifically, we do best when we engage in short periods of mindless but guided activity, like going for a walk on the pavement and avoiding the cracks, or finding the edge pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Just enough to keep the conscious brain quiet. Not so much to occupy the whole brain.

We now know Ramus and his followers were both wrong and right. They were wrong that lists and subcategories were the way to go. For creativity in particular that’s disastrous – knowing the place of everything makes it almost impossible to find new places for things, which is what creativity is all about. But they were right about the power of the imagination. Only, instead of that making it something to be frightened of, we can now see it as something to be nurtured, to get excited about. And with modern neuroimaging showing us just why the likes of Lull and Bruno were right about the development of the imagination, now is an incredibly exciting time to learn more about them, and use their principles to develop our own creativity. Mycelium has been designed to do just that – to take the associative and categorising principles of mediaeval pioneers (and, and let’s face it, it’s hard to resist, to incorporate some of the aesthetic feel of those early works), to apply the principles unlocked by modern research, and combine them so that you can unlock your brain’s remarkable creative potential


Mycelium consists of two decks of cards. One deck contains 10 “relation” cards and the other contains 50 “object” cards, five cards each from the following ten categories:

  • Animal world
  • Culture
  • Geography
  • History
  • History of ideas
  • Human endeavour
  • Human world
  • Physical world
  • Plant world
  • Science and technology

The make-up of the pack has been designed specifically to encourage all of the preconditions for creativity, and to mirror the successful techniques of artists like Giordano Bruno. By drawing from a wide range of fields, and using visually stimulating but non-specific images as much as possible (for example, not choosing to represent a “fish” with a picture that’s clearly a “salmon” as that would restrict rather than help associations), many different parts of our knowledge base are used and connected in effective ways.

Game play

Mycelium can be used effectively by one person or as a game between as many people as you wish. Indeed, if you want to keep score, the more people you have the better – and the scoring of each round may just spark as much creative activity as playing the game itself – that is as much part of the game’s design as anything else.

The goal of the game is simple – you are set challenges which ask you to combine or otherwise relate two different objects in as many and as varied ways as you can. If you are scoring, then points will be awarded for originality of ideas, number of ideas, and detail of ideas.

At the start of each round, shuffle both decks, and turn over

  • One card from the relations deck. You may, say, get. “You have survived the zombie apocalypse. Would you rather be left with … or …? Explain your answer.
  • Two cards from the object deck. You may draw “a set square” and “a hydrothermal vent”

Your question for the round is now set – “You have survived the zombie apocalypse. Would you rather be left with a set square or a hydrothermal vent? Explain your answer.”

You have a set amount of time to find as many answers as you can, that are as original as possible, and as thoroughly thought out and explained as possible. Hyo can write them, type them, morse code them, record them however you wish. You can make this time as long or as short as you like, but I recommend if you are playing as a group 15 minutes.

At the end of the round, if you are playing competitively, calculate your score using the method outlined in the scoring section.

Finally, before commencing the next round rearrange the cards in the objects deck into their categories. The cards of each category have their text outlined in a different colour, so you can just sort by colour. This sounds unnecessary and a bit strange, but it’s a key part of the process if you are using Mycelium as a tool to make you more creative. Research has shown that how you use the time in between periods of sustained creative effort matters. Do something too complex and you never get to recover. Do nothing and your brain gets slack. But carry out a task that occupies you but in a fairly mindless way and your brain will be subconsciously preparing itself to be creative and you will improve for the next round. Sorting the cards in this way is exactly this kind of task.


A key part of scoring is that it will involve some element of negotiation and agreement (on what constitutes “the same idea” for example, and on how well elaborated an idea is). This is part of the game, and part of the process of sparking creativity by thinking about other people’s ideas as well as your own. Don’t skimp on the discussions this part may generate – it is more important that each others’ ideas get you thinking than that you “win”.

“Scoring” creativity sounds really odd, and a really “uncreative” thing to do but it’s actually a surprisingly reliable measure. There are three elements to scoring:

  • Originality – coming up with ideas that no one else thinks of
  • Prolificness – coming up with lots of ideas
  • Elaboration – coming up with ideas that are really well thought through and might actually work

Each idea you generate (each “answer”) will score you marks (the prolific part). Each answer can score between 1 and 25 points, achieving a mark of 1-5 for originality and 1-5 for elaboration and the scores being multiplied.

Originality is scored in the following way. For however many people are playing, if all of you come up with an idea, then you score 1 point. If no one else comes up with an idea you score a point for every person playing, up to a maximum of 5. If some people share the same idea, you will score accordingly (for 2 out of 3 people, score 2 points. For 2 out of 5 or 6 people, score 4 points, and so on).

Elaboration is scored according to how well you have developed your idea, and may also be scored according to relevance. For example, a question might ask what you get if you cross a fish with a skyscraper. You may answer “78 blue oil tankers” if you wish, and that would probably be original, but it would be neither relevant nor thought through. Even a simple “a fish scraper” or similar would be relevant but completely unelaborated. I would score both as 1. On the other hand, you may have created a whole world in wish half fish half skyscrapers exist and the ways they relate to each other and what’s around them – that kind of following through is what makes for elaboration. This is where scoring works best when it is agreed upon by both or all parties – it gets you thinking about what makes a really well-elaborated idea.

The fact that originality is multiplied by elaboration but that the marks for all your ideas are added together rather than multiplied encourages you to put your energies into really developing a few highly original ideas.