User Tools

Site Tools


Odyssey of the Mind - the organization

The mission of Creative Competitions, Inc. is to provide creative problem solving opportunities for everyone and to foster original and divergent thinking. Through the Odyssey of the Mind program, we promote creativity by challenging teams to solve divergent problems, that is, those with more than one solution. By working in teams, participants learn teamwork, the appreciation and understanding of others, and the power of group work in tackling a problem. They develop a sense of self-respect and respect for others through preparatory activities such as brainstorming and roleplaying.

While the ultimate goal for most teams is to present their problem solutions in official competitions, this is not a requirement of participation. The purpose of the program is to provide students with an exciting learning experience that promises to be challenging and fun.

What is Odyssey of the Mind?

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving competition for students of all ages. Teams of students select a problem, create a solution, then present their solution in a competition against other teams in the same problem and division. There are many nuances of the program that are explained further in this Wiki, but here are some of the basics of participation:

  • Students work in teams of up to seven members under the guidance of an adult coach.
  • Teams spend weeks or months, at their own pace, creating solutions to long-term problems. This includes Style enhancements.
  • Team members come up with all the ideas for their solution and do all the work themselves.
  • Coaches may help teach skills and educate the team on ways of approaching the problem and of evaluating their solution.
  • Teams work within the cost limit stated in the problem.
  • Teams have 8 minutes to present their long-term problem solution in competition.
  • Teams are scored for meeting the requirements of the problem and for creativity in categories specific to each problem.
  • At the competition teams are presented a spontaneous problem to solve on site.
  • A team’s standing in competition is determined by its combined Long-Term, Style, and Spontaneous scores.
  • To solve a problem, teams must follow the general rules in the program guide, limitations in the problem, and clarifications issued during the year.
  • The rules in the program guide pertain to all the problems; any conflicting problem limitations supersede these rules, and clarifications issued throughout this program year supersede the rules and the problem limitations.

Getting the most out of an Odyssey of the Mind experience

The Odyssey of the Mind program is based on the premise that creativity can be taught. Try and think of anyone who fits any of these descriptions . . . the talented student that is “naturally” creative; the student whose talents require nurturing; the student who does not think of herself as creative, but feels she is “different” than her peers; or the student with untapped potential but no outlet for it to thrive? Odyssey of the Mind provides that outlet in an environment where almost every type of student will thrive.

Coaches provide the experiences for teams to reap the full benefits of participation in OotM. In the Wiki, coaches will find many exercises that will help to teach critical-thinking and creative problem-solving skills, but the program can provide much more than teaching students how to think: it augments the lessons taught in the classroom and allows students to apply what they’ve learned to different situations. In this time of budgetary cutbacks in the arts and other important areas, students can continue to learn art, music, creative writing, acting, and just about whatever else they’re interested in through incorporating those subjects into their long-term problem solution.

It’s important that coaches recognize the wealth of opportunity that comes with coaching a team. The time coaches spend with the students will make a difference in their lives. The team will learn more from their time in OotM than they imagined – and they’ll remember the good times they had in the process. And coaches are the ones to make that happen.

odyssey_of_the_mind.txt · Last modified: 2016/10/06 01:51 by robinc