In 1978, professor of education C. Samuel Micklus decided he had seen enough of classrooms where complacency, not creativity, was rewarded. So he founded Odyssey of the Mind, a tournament touting creative problem solving. The competition has caught on worldwide. Today, more than one million youthful participants in 50 states and 20 countries are convening to solve one of each year's five 'problem,' or challenges. (For example: "Build several mini-terrain vehicles that can circumscribe arcs, survive sand traps, dive from a ramp into a pool of water (and much more), for less than $90 in materials — and develop a thematic story line to integrate this performance into a seamless tableau.)
It's part science fair, part masquerade party, and part junior Bell Labs — and it's teaching the next generation to create solutions for the 21st century.