Artefact Cards Blog

Cardstock - Work-In-Progress - Friday 23rd July 2021

Posted 21 July 2021 by John Willshire

The last few Cardstock meet-ups have really been getting in to a nice rhythm; smart lovely people turn up and talk about card decks they've made, found, etc.

We have noticed though that a good few attendees come because they have a notion card-based idea, a work-in-progress, and they just don't really know how to get going with it, perhaps.

So this Friday's edition of Cardstock is about Work-In-Progress

Card decks you can't get yet, because the creators are still creating.

Here's how it'll work.

George Walkley and Matt Ballantine have volunteered to share some new decks they're working on.

George's is about "using a custom deck of cards and Sherman Kent’s Words of Estimative Probability as a technique for structured critical thinking."

Matt's is about "PlayCards - a way for people to explore the skills needed to be innovative".

They'll each introduce the core concept, who and what their deck is for, and their plan to launch them into the world.

Then we'll all ask questions, offer perspectives, and generally talk about making card decks.

Sound good? Excellent, we'll see you here, Friday 23rd, 1pm BST:

Join Here Via Zoom


Add Monthly Cardstock To Your Calendar.



Cardstock with Sarah & Leila... and Marshall McLuhan

Posted 24 June 2021 by John Willshire

It's almost here! Cardstock is tomorrow, 25th June, and we've got the brilliant Sarah & Leila coming along to discuss their new Creativity Tarot (available for preorder here) which have evolved out of their learnings from running creativity workshops over lockdown. 

Then, we'll also be unboxing this, an original 1969 set of Marshall McLuhan's Distant Early Warning card deck, which arrived in the post here at Artefact Towers the other week.

If the Medium is the Message, then this Friday the message is card-shaped.

Join us on Zoom here, at 1pm UK time.

Cardstock with Vaughn Tan - Friday 28th May

Posted 26 May 2021 by John Willshire

We're delighted this month at Cardstock to be talking to Vaughn Tan, creator of the idk cards. You might have guessed that idk stands for 'I don't know', a phrase we can be afraid, reluctant or discouraged from using at work or in our personal lives.

Vaughn's previously written a book called The Uncertainty Mindset, so I'm keen to find out more about transposing the ideas in there from long-form prose to short, playful interactions.

Cardstock is happening this Friday, 28th May, at 1pm:

Join here via this Zoom link
Add the Cardstock Monthly Meetup to your Calendar.


Find out more about the idk cards, from where you can buy a pack:

idk is based on years of research on some of the world’s most innovative teams. It’s meant to help you excel when working in unfamiliar situations, facing unpleasant ideas, or just doing something you don’t know how to do yet.

Each of the 54 idk cards suggests something you can do to be intentionally uncomfortable. This can be something you’re reluctant to do, something you dislike, or something unfamiliar—but it is always designed to help you grow and learn as a result. idk can be used repeatedly and indefinitely.


Vaughn Tan is an assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship and one of the founding faculty at University College London’s School of Management. He previously worked for Google in California.

Cardstock's back - Friday 23rd April

Posted 19 April 2021 by John Willshire

Well hello card-lovers - Cardstock is back this Friday, come along at 1pm UK time (Zoom link here). We've an exciting guest, and some news about Cardstock meet-ups, and the community moving forwards.

First things first - we'll be joined by Kevin Campbell Davidson is the creator of HumanQ, a deck of game-based audio meditations - - an online card deck linked to Soundcloud files, it's a brilliant experience. 

We'll be trying out some things together, thinking about online card-like experiences, and so on.

Secondly, we'll be moving the online community to an actual home in the next month or so, hooking up with some mighty likeminded friends in an exciting new development I may talk about on Friday.

And last but not least, I'd like you all to welcome the fabulous and brilliant Rina Atienza to the Cardstock Committee. In her own words...

Hi! I'm Rina, and I enjoy scheming as I go about with friends solving wicked problems.

Why cards?
This is a Filipino slang word that can mean different things in different contexts.
From the Spanish descarte (descartar means to discard)

"diskarte" is about one’s effective way of doing things
It could mean your mojo or “game” when it comes to being
resourceful or dispensing street smarts with your angles and moves.

I have a nominative fondness for queen cards, and I'm glad I successfully convinced John to try hexes.

Also, I should really play my diversity card more?


That is indeed correct - without Rina, there would be no Artefact Hex cards, and then where would we be? Trapped in four-sided conventionality, no doubt.

Thanks Rina, and see you Friday we hope...

Zoom link -

The Daily Deal

Posted 5 January 2021 by John Willshire

A daily creative prompt for you to apply to a problem you're working on today.

Continue Reading →

Cardstock - How To Future

Posted 14 September 2020 by John Willshire

To celebrate the launch of the splendid new How To Future cards, Scott Smith of Changeist will be joining us for the next Cardstock meetup on Friday 25th September, to talk about (amongst other things) why cards and futures make for very good bedfellows indeed.

We have of course just collaborated on a set of How To Future cards to coincide with Scott's new How To Future book he's written with Madeline Ashby.

As always, put your name on the list here so we know who's coming, and bring your future thinking hats too.


Steve Chapman's Sound of Silence

Posted 14 September 2020 by John Willshire

A good friend of ours, Steve Chapman, has just completed the most awesome project, partially powered by the Artefacts he kept on his wall as a record of progress. We just had to ask him to tell us all about it...

I only ever seem to find out what my projects are about the moment I finish them.  They’re more organic than mechanic and tend to start out as a curious question that then takes on a life of its own.  I see my job as simply following their often-erratic path to see where they lead me.  To nurture and nudge rather than manage and measure.

In early 2018 one such curious question came to me whilst out running.  It was prompted by seeing yet another tweet about yet another brand-new leadership podcast promising to reveal top leadership secrets to turbo-charge your career and turn you into some sort of omnipotent LinkedIn god.  Or something similar.  I didn’t read on.  But whilst out running I started to wonder if the medium of podcasting had become all a bit meh!  I wonder what the opposite of a podcast might be?” I thought to myself. 

Two and a half years later I found myself recording the penultimate 99th episode of Sound of Silence (the world’s first silent podcast featuring special guests) with comedian Eddie Izzard backstage at a theatre in Bexhill-on-sea.  

This was never part of the plan, but that’s what I love about having no real objectives – wherever the project wants to go is always so much better than where I would have led it!

Now, recording the world’s first silent podcast featuring special guests isn’t as easy as it may sound.  Or if you weren’t thinking it sounded easy – recording the world’s first silent podcast featuring special guests is as difficult as it sounds.   The biggest and most problematic problem was finding guests who a) didn’t think it was a Chris Morris-esque wind-up or b) didn’t suspect that I was luring them to a quiet place to murder them!   I needed to cast my net wide in the hope that at least one person would say “yes” which meant sending out many, many invites. 

I am a visual thinker and my plans tend to change and morph on an almost daily basis and, as this project had the added uncertainty of involving lots of other people, I turned to my trusty supply of  Artefact cards to help me make sense of it all.  

Whilst I spent many years managing projects with Gannt charts and various metrics and dashboards, I find it so much more helpful (and exciting) to be able to physically move cards around and, on occasions, rip them up in a fit of frustration and throw them in the bin.

So in the spring of 2018 I created four zones on the wall of my little studio for different categories of cards.  Zone 1) Potential guests – people I’d love to have on the podcast, Zone 2) Guests who had said “yes” to being on it but I’d yet to record with,  Zone 3) Guests whose episodes I’d recorded but not yet broadcast and Zone 4) Episodes that had been broadcast. 

I guess there was also an unofficial fifth zone which was the 60% of guests I asked who said “no” or ignored my request.  Week by week the cards would gradually move from zone to zone.   Some made it all the way to the end and others didn’t.  As time progress I realised that this was not only a brilliant way to keep track of things, it was also an invaluable way of keeping motivated.  In the moments I felt like giving up I’d glance up and notice that more and more little yellow cards were making their way across the wall to the glory of zone 4!

At lunchtime on the 25th August 2020, the final 100th episode was broadcast and, with a sense of satisfaction (and a dose of “thank **** for that!”) I added the final card to zone 4.  After 18 months, and an inordinate amount of train tickets , the podcast was finally complete.

And for me personally, the completed collection of artefact cards is equally as beautiful as the completed podcast.  The plan has become as much of a work of art as the work of art itself. 

I bet nobody has ever said that about a Gannt chart!




Steve is an artist, writer and speaker interested in creativity and the human condition.  The silence collected through his Sound of Silence project has been turned into an online exhibition of silence that can be visited at  You can find out more about Steve at or follow him on Instagram/Twitter via @stevexoh.

1 2 3 41 Next »