Mycelium

Unlock your creativity and unlock the future – your future, your family’s future, even the future of humanity. There are so many ways we could make life a little better, a little easier, a little richer, a little more fun if we could just see round corners, find the connections between things we never knew were there.

There are two very simple ingredients to being more innovative and creative:

  • Have a very broad base of knowledge. Know lots of things about lots of things.
  • Contrary to what lots of memory techniques teach, and a lot of what you learn in school, learn to store that knowledge in really leaky containers so that it’s really easy to build connections between those areas.

Modern studies of the brain show there are two things you need to work on to do that:

  • Grow the associative cortex areas of your brain. That’s where all those memory techniques really are useful, they help you to store a ton of information in useful ways.
  • Learn to be able to turn off the frontal areas of your brain like a light switch. This is the area that acts like self-censor, the part that makes yo embarrassed, asks you if you should really be doing that. It’s really useful most of the time but learning to turn it off is key to making new and interesting connections – because innovation is all about trying stuff out just to see.

Mycelium is an easy to play card game that primes your brain in just those ways to do just those things. Fortunately it’s not as dry as that sounds, because it turns out that several mediaeval memory artists had already devised some very effective techniques. Before they got burned at the stake when some of their rivals accused them of trying to summon demons. And we have taken those techniques and, yes, the really rather satisfying aesthetic of mediaeval manuscripts, honed them, and turned them into an enjoyable and addictive game. (And removed the bit about the demons).

Mycelium was the winner of the 2017 Oxford University Innovation Challenge, and was developed by Dan Holloway, the 2016 and 2017 Creative Thinking World Champion. The first prototype decks have been produced, and are currently in testing, and the final set is in production. If you would like to know when it is available, please email rogueinterrobang@gmail.com with the subject “Mycelium”. The final set will incorporate specially commissioned artwork, a beautifully illustrated guide, and dedicated design work for the box and card reverses.

I will also be running workshops and introductions for schools and businesses who want to use the game as part of their learning and training programmes. And when the card game is out in the world, I will be working on an app that will enable you to “play against” and collaborate with people from across the world, building a global network of people working towards a more creative future.

That doesn’t mean you need to wait till then to start getting your creative juices flowing. I will be running a regular column with creative problems of the kind you will find in the game, and you can create your own problems to solve. To help you do that, you can DOWNLOAD THE FULL RULES HERE or read them online here.

If you would like to know more about the principles behind Mycelium, you can find here the full text and slides of the first presentation I gave, at a place that could not have been more appropriate in every way – the HipHopEd workshop on remixing in education.

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