What is Odyssey of the Mind?
Odyssey of the Mind is the world's oldest international creative problem-solving competition among students kindergarten through college. The purpose of Odyssey of the Mind is to promote creativity and problem-solving in a variety of areas from building mechanical devices and balsa wood structures to presenting dramatic and technical performances. Odyssey of the Mind develops team building skills, divergent thinking, presentation and organization skills. The program provides a caring, supportive environment for team members to develop a variety of skills.

While Odyssey of the Mind is a competitive program, it's nothing like a typical sporting event. The competitive element encourages kids to do the best that they can, but it's a friendly competition. Odyssey of the Mind is not a scholar bowl or a competition about facts and knowledge. It's all about creativity! Kids are rewarded more for how they apply their knowledge, skills and talents, rather than for coming up with the right answer. In fact, in Odyssey of the Mind problems, there isn't one right answer!

Creative Competitions, Inc. (CCI) located in Sewell, New Jersey, sponsors the program. CCI develops the problems and provides support materials and services to the licensed associations. CCI also hosts the annual World Finals. Sammy Micklus is the Program Director.

Missouri Creative Achievements in Problem Solving, a non-profit educational organization, is licensed by CCI to present the program in Missouri. The organization is governed by a Board of Directors. It provides support for coaches, awareness sessions, coaches' and judges' trainings and sponsors a State Tournament.

Teams of up to seven members solve a long-term problem and develop skills in spontaneous problems. Teams are guided by a coach who must not be involved in anyway with the problem solution, but may help the team logistically by providing practice locations, materials and instruction in techniques, not solutions. Teams compete in each problem against other teams in their age division. Divisions are divided according to school grade. Top teams and teams receiving the coveted Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award at the State Tournament advance to the World Finals.

The Odyssey program began is 1978 with 28 schools in New Jersey.   Today there are more than 3,500 memberships in the United States and many foreign countries including Canada, Japan, China, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Hong Kong, Singapore, Slovakia, United Kingdom, Moldova, Australia, Lithuania, West Africa, Siberia and Kazakhstan. At the annual World Finals teams from around the world present their solutions to the same problems.

A Brief History
The Odyssey of the Mind has its roots in the Industrial Design classes of Dr. Sam Micklus, Odyssey of the Mind founder. As a professor at Rowan University in New Jersey (formerly Glassboro State College) Dr. Micklus challenged his students to create vehicles without wheels, mechanical pie throwers and flotation devices that would take them across a course on a lake. He evaluated them not on the success of their solutions, but on the ingenuity applied and the risk involved in trying something new and different. Students had fun. Word spread and the students' activities attracted attention from the local media. Soon, people on the outside wanted a part of the action. This public interest led to the development of a creative problem-solving competition for school children. The Odyssey of the Mind was on its way. Since then, Dr. Micklus's life has been happily consumed with developing problems for other people to solve. His rewards are in the joy and pride of the millions of participants who rise to the challenge of solving those problems.

How to join

Schools, clubs or community organizations become members by purchasing a membership from Creative Competitions, Inc.  A membership allows a school to field one team per problem, per division.   Purchase a National Membership 

Each team competing in the Missouri State Tournament pays a registration fee of $75.00


April 13, 2024The 2024 Missouri State In-Person Tournament will be held on the campus of State Technical College of Missouri in Linn, MO 

     For information contact:
     Co-Association Directors
    Jerlyn Jones

    Marty Hodits

Official 2023-2024 problems and videos can be found HERE.
JUDGES' REGISTRATION CLICK HERE (Volunteers should not register online.)  

Here is a great video tutorial series about the entire process of an Odyssey of the Mind solution from start to finish!

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