“The most important attitude that can be formed is that of the desire to go on learning. ” -John Dewey
The Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program whose mission is to provide creative problem-solving opportunities for the students who participate. Through solving challenging and fun open-ended problems, students develop creative-thinking skills that can be applied to real-life situations. Students throughout the U.S. and 20 other countries participate in the program and range from kindergarten age through high school. Students learn skills that will provide them with the ability to solve problems – great and small – for a lifetime.
The competition works like this: each year, five new competitive problems are presented for the teams to solve. They are generally long-term problems and can be solved over weeks or months if need be. Some of the problems are more technical in nature while others are artistic or performance based. Each long-term problem rewards “Style” in the solution. Students learn how to think divergently by providing open-ended problems that appeal to a wide range of interests and how to identify challenges and think creatively to solve those problems. They are free to express their ideas and suggestions without fear of criticism. At the competition, the teams are given an on-the-spot “spontaneous” problem to solve. The team that produces the best long-term problem-solving, Style, and spontaneous problem-solving skills defines the winner.
In addition to the competition itself, Pin trading and collecting is another fun and lively activity that takes place on the sidelines at the Odyssey events. The lapel pins are issued each year from each state. The participants try to collect pins from as many states as they can each year. The designs featured on the lapel pins for the event are as creative and imaginative as the event itself. The lapel pins we provide to the organization (see example right) are a fun illustration of the creativity that goes into the design. The students trade and collect these pins during the competition; it’s a fun interactive side event that happens each.
The Odyssey of the Mind is a wonderful creative problem-solving process rewards thinking “outside of the box.” encouraging students to think creatively and productively. This out of box thinking is not only evident by the event but the fun creative design seen year to year in the pins made.