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.