Ranatra Fusca is the term for a classification of water insects. Although
this may seem like a remote association to creative thinking, it is not
as far off as it sounds. When our founder, Dr. Sam Micklus gave his college
students an assignment to create a flotation device to transport themselves
across a pond, one student designed a water strider-like contraption.
This contraption did not solve the problem because of its inability to
maintain proper balance. Even though the first attempt at the device did
not work properly, the idea was exceptionally creative.
The Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award represents the essence of the Odyssey
of the Mind program. It is presented to teams OR individuals who exhibit
exceptional creativity either in some aspect of the problem solution,
their behavior, or through an extraordinary idea beyond the problem solution.
A successful solution to the problem is not a criterion for winning
the award; rather, the award is a way to acknowledge and encourage creative
thinking and risk taking. Many Omers and coaches regard the Ranatra Fusca
Creativity Award as being equal to, or more prestigious then winning a
first place trophy.
This is why a team that is willing to take a risk or be exceptionally
creative, and is awarded the Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award at the State
Competition will also win the right to advance to World Competition along
with first place winners.
OMER’s award is given to individuals who exemplify the spirit and philosophy
of Odyssey of the Mind or to teams or team members whom are deemed to
be exceptionally talented, although not outstandingly creative, or whom
best exemplify good sportsmanship and teamwork.
It can be given to coaches, team members, parents, officials, or others
who serve as positive examples or role models by their actions and words
or to team members who exhibit exceptional skill, as opposed to creativity.