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Destination Imagination is a project-based, school-friendly program that builds participants’ creativity, problem solving, and teamwork in enjoyable and meaningful ways. Destination Imagination teaches the process from Imagination to Innovation. The goals of Destination Imagination are for participants to:

  • Foster creative and critical thinking
  • Learn and apply Creative Problem Solving method and tools
  • Develop teamwork, collaboration, and leadership skills
  • Nurture research and inquiry skills, involving both creative exploration and attention to detail
  • Enhance and apply written and verbal communication and presentation skills (both impromptu and sustained)
  • Promote the recognition, use, and development of many and varied strengths and talents
  • Encourage competence in, enthusiasm for, and commitment to real-life problem solving
  • Develops the skills needed to meet the requirements of  21st Century Skills, Common Core, and STEAM


  • Young people of similar age, Rising Stars! (preschool -second grade), Elementary  (K-5), Middle (6-8), HS (9-12) and University (College),  work on teams of 2-7 members over an 8-12 week period
  • No Interference is allowed from anyone outside of the team
  • Adult Team Managers act as facilitators to a team
  • Team Manager training is provided by experienced trainers in all 58 Affiliates
  • Problem solving skills are cultivated by using Tools
  • Teamwork is developed by using the eight building blocks for successful teams
  • Creativity is appreciated by Team- and Instant Challenges that are open ended
  • Individual and team strengths are promoted by “Team Choices”; based on Multiple Intelligence Theory
  • Instant Challenges engage participants in rapid-fire critical thinking
  • Team Challenges engage participants in sustained problem solving


  • Tournaments are a celebration of what the team HAS accomplished and the PROCESS learned
  • Solutions are evaluated and Reward Points are a component of Instant and TeamChallenges
  • Appraisers are trained to reward the PROCESS that the team has experienced
  • Tournament Data Forms provide opportunity for teams to culminate their experience
  • Special Awards are given for exceptional creativity, teamwork, and innovation
  • At the end of the Destination Imagination® season, teams have an active reflection time

The Two Components of the DI™ Program

The Destination Imagination program asks teams to creatively solve two different kinds of Challenges, each with its own purpose and educational focus. The two Challenges, or components, are called the Team Challenge and the Instant Challenge. Teams present their solutions to both Challenges at a Tournament where the solutions are evaluated by friendly people we call “Appraisers.”

Team Challenge

The Destination ImagiNation Team Challenge is a Challenge teams work on over a long period of time, usually several months. This year, Destination ImagiNation® presents seven Team Challenges (six  competitive Challenges, and a Rising Stars!® non-competitive Challenge), and each team generally chooses one Challenge to solve. A competitive Challenge is made up of two parts, the Central Challenge and Team Choices (except for a yearly Improvisational Challenge, which does not include Side Trips).

Central Challenge

  • Purpose: Encourages development of Creative Problem Solving techniques, teamwork, and creative process over a sustained period of time (usually several months).
  • Educational Focus of Central Challenge: The project undertaken by the team is academically based and focuses on one or more of the following areas: Technical/Mechanical Design, Scientific, Structural/Architectural Design, Theatrical/Literary/Fine Arts Elements, Improvisational Techniques and Service Learning.
  • Each of the six competitive Central Challenges involves a research component.
  • One or more of the Central Challenges involves an international and/or intercultural theme.

Team Choice Element (All Challenges except Improvisational)

  • Purpose: Encourages participants to discover and showcase their collective interests, strengths, and abilities as a team and as individuals, and allows them to develop that showcase over a long period of time.
  • Educational Focus of Team Choice Elements: Based on the educational theory of multiple intelligences, which in part emphasizes allowing participants to find their own best ways to present what they have learned.
  • Allows teams total freedom to develop elements of their own choosing.
  • Allows teams to highlight areas of strength that are not brought forth in the Central Challenge requirements.
  • Allows/Encourages teams to recognize and make the most of each individual’s abilities/interests.

Instant Challenge

  • The Destination Imagination® Instant Challenge is a Challenge teams are asked to solve in a very short period of time at their Tournament, without knowing ahead of time what the Challenge will be.
  • Purpose: To put team’s creative problem solving abilities, creativity, and teamwork to the test in a short, time-driven Challenge.
  • Educational Focus of Instant Challenge: The team’s use of creative problem solving strategies, assessment and use of available materials, and teamwork under tight time constraints.
  • Encourages teams to develop creative problem solving and time management strategies, performance and improvisational techniques.
  • Develops the ability to quickly assess the properties of provided materials, and learn how to creatively manipulate materials for a unique solution.

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