Ames, I.A. – Over 20,000 students and supporters from around the world will travel to Iowa for the 41st annual Odyssey of the Mind World Finals from May 27-30 at Iowa State University. Students from different cultures and widely varying economic backgrounds will prove that creativity is universal by coming together for this event. They will demonstrate their creative solution to an Odyssey of the Mind problem while appreciating the creativity of others.

The teams have worked throughout the school year solving an OotM problem and were judged as the most creative in a series of rigorous state and national competitions. At ISU, the teams will represent their state and country in hopes to prove that they are the world’s most creative problem-solvers. Odyssey of the Mind has teams competing from throughout the United States and in 13 other countries including Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland.

Although this is a competition to become a world champion, kids will form life-long friendships with their teammates and opponents. These friendships span the globe! Through Odyssey, they learn to communicate and appreciate different cultures. The Odyssey of the Mind “family” is made up of many different cultures, personalities, and ages. There will be 837 teams participating that were considered the best of the best.

They will come with interesting costumes, original stage designs, and innovative inventions — all part of solving an Odyssey problem. These problems are judged on creativity and risk-taking. The students learn to apply their creativity to problem solving. Teams also learn how to manage time and money, how to share ideas and negotiate with one another, and to perform in front of an audience. Because the problems provide for divergent solutions students incorporate their knowledge and interests into their solutions such as math, history, art, music, science, acrobatics, athletics, robotics, and anything else a child can imagine and enjoy.

Read about this year’s problems here.

There are also many other events at World Finals, such as the Creativity Festival. Booths from each Odyssey state or country will challenge attendees with creative games. NASA will have a booth at the festival handing out informational materials. Entry to the competitions and festival are free and open to the public. The competition will conclude with an Awards Ceremony, where over 18,000 people will gather to see the World Champions of Creativity announced.

Like most kids, Odyssey of the Mind team members will exceed expectations when given the opportunity to express themselves. OotM Found Dr. Sam Micklus says, “Odyssey of the Mind students have the best minds in the world.”


Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving program for students from K-college. Founded in 1978, it is the oldest and largest creative problem-solving competition in the world. Learn more at Visit our World Finals page and find teams from your town!  Simply click “teams from your state” and enter your area.

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