Frequently Asked Questions
VISION: To be the global leader in teaching the creative process from imagination to innovation. (Click here to learn more about the creative process.)
MISSION: To develop opportunities that inspire the global community of learners to utilize diverse approaches in applying 21st century skills and creativity. The Destination Imagination program encourages teams of learners to have fun, take risks, focus and frame challenges while incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the arts and service learning. Our participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. Teams may showcase their solutions at a tournament.
HISTORY: Destination Imagination (DI) is a non-profit, volunteer-led, cause-driven organization. Our purpose is to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. Our organization was incorporated in 1982, when we took over the charter for OM Association, Inc. In 1999, our name was changed to Destination Imagination, Inc. Since then, our non-profit has impacted more than one million participants. Approximately 200,000 youth make friends and learn the creative process through our programs every year, and 38,000 volunteers support us!
All of our programs are Challenge-based, and they teach the creative process from imagination to innovation. Our goal is to help student teams learn to be creative in every aspect of their lives. Our Challenge program is our most popular offering. At the start of the season, teams choose one of seven Challenges. After weeks spent creating, developing and practicing their solutions, they go to a local tournament. Top-scoring teams advance to state or country tournaments. The top level of the tournament is our Global Finals—the world’s largest celebration of creativity.
Our programs are developed annually to ensure they are relevant and align to National Education Standards, STEM standards, ELA Common Core Standards and Mathematics Common Core Standards. Every year, with the help of parent volunteers, educators, and subject matter experts, we design new and exciting Challenges for student teams to solve.
Teams consisting of up to seven students, each under the direction of an adult Team Manager, solve one of six Central Challenges. Each team works together during the school year to develop a solution to the challenge. They then participate in the State Tournament, where their solutions are judged by a team of trained Appraisers against a set criteria . The judging includes an evaluation of both the team’s solution and presentation. In addition, an Instant Challenge is given to each team on the day of the tournament. This challenges the team members to think on their feet.
I would like to get my child on a DI Team.
The best way to make sure that your child participates on a Destination Imagination team is to agree to be a Team Manager. We typically ALWAYS have more students wanting to participate than we have parents volunteering to be Team Managers.
If you are in the Dallas school district, you should contact your District Coordinator, Angie Nuno, firstname.lastname@example.org to see if the school your child attends is currently participating in Destination Imagination. The coordinator can put you in touch with someone at the school to assist you. If the school is not currently participating, the coordinator can help you get started in forming a team.
If your child attends a private school and they participate in DI then you should contact the coordinator about joining a team at the school. If the school is not currently participating then you should contact the Regional Director about what it would take to start the program at your private school.
If you home school, contact the Regional Director for options. You can always start a Home School based team. SOME school districts MAY allow home schooled children that reside in the district to join a district team.
What is Destination Imagination?
Destination Imagination (DI) is a non-profit, volunteer-led, cause-driven organization. Our purpose is to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. Annually, we offer seven new standards-based Challenges in STEM, Improv, Visual Arts, Service Learning, and Early Learning. Each Challenge is open-ended and enables student teams to learn and experience the creative process from imagination to innovation. Academic tournaments take place around the world where teams have the opportunity to present their solutions to trained appraisers. Students have fun and gain confidence in their ability to solve any challenge. In working to solve our Challenges, teams learn 21st century skills (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship and courage) to build on their unique strengths.
Here’s a simple breakdown of the program:
Up to 7 members can be on a team, and students from kindergarten through university level participate. Each team needs an adult Team Manager. Team Managers help students stay on track but do not directly help the team develop its solution to the DI Challenge. Team Managers are often faculty members or parents.
DI teaches the creative process by allowing teams to solve Challenges together as a team. A big part of our program is the Interference policy: in short, kids have to imagine, create and develop solutions on their own. Parents, Team Managers, family and friends can’t suggest ideas or force teams in certain directions. Outsiders can only facilitate the acquisition of skills and knowledge.
There are seven new Challenges to choose from each year. Each of the Challenges is developed by a team of educators and industry experts who target a particular area of the curriculum and its related standards of content and performance. The areas of focus include: Technical, Scientific, Fine Arts, Improvisational, Structural and Service Learning. There is also a non-competitive Early Learning Challenge that allows participants to develop social and problem solving skills.
Each season takes place from September through May. Depending on the Challenge, teams typically spend 2 to 4 months developing and practicing their Challenge solutions.
The team’s solutions are assessed at regional, state or country tournaments. While most schools run DI as an after school program, some school districts incorporate the program into their electives curriculum. Our tournaments provide the opportunity for participants to celebrate creativity with their peers and promote healthy competition. Every year, local volunteers help run 200 tournaments around the world.
Teams in our program learn higher order thinking and improve in creative thinking, critical thinking and collaborative problem solving. Our participants experience the creative process, develop new friendships and learn to work together.
Teams choose one of seven Challenges. After weeks spent creating and developing their solutions, they go to a local tournament. Top-scoring teams advance to their state or country tournament, also known as an Affiliate Tournament. The top tier teams from each Affiliate Tournament have the opportunity to participate in Global Finals—the world’s largest celebration of creativity.
For more information on getting started, visit DestinationImagination.org and click on the “Start a Team” page.