Some Secrets of a Successful Team

  1. Read the challenge again and again. It is very important to know the challenge well. Always have a copy of the challenge handy. Too many teams lose focus of what they are doing because they stray from the rules or scoring categories.
  2. Define creativity. As a team, define creativity. Make sure that you are getting the most creativity out of your ideas. Think about creating and what that means when trying to make a creative solution to the team challenge and when practicing brainstorming.
  3. Eliminate the common. When trying to solve a challenge, eliminate the common ideas. For example, a cat and mouse theme in a challenge based on mousetraps is probably not going to seem creative (appraisers will be expecting it). Be different. Do something inspired – be creative!
  4. List your goals. DI is a great place to learn real life skills. Setting and accomplishing goals is a skill that works beautifully in DI and in real life. It is a simple task which can add a lot of efficiency to a team.
  5. Use creative inspiration. If you know of a painting, play, TV show, book, piece of music or any other work of art which is very creative, watch, read, listen or do it. Creativity is contagious. Try to have music a constant creative atmosphere at meetings. Relax and be creative.
  6. Work hard and often. My teams has consistent meeting times and we met at least three times a week during the 2-3 months before competition. Team members came in above and beyond our scheduled practices. This much work is not for everyone, but it is necessary to reach the top.
  7. Solve the challenge completely. Some teams do great with one part of the challenge, but get too wrapped up on one aspect. Take the time to try and cover every scoring category. Get a strategy and decide specifically what direction to take. Then delegate duties and trust your teammates to get it done. In creative categories, make it so creative that appraisers can’t help but give you high scores.
  8. Have a good attitude. Do your best and worry only about your team. You can control how well you do and how you carry yourself. But remember that DI is not about winning. Don’t be so competitive that you miss what DI is really all about.
  9. Simplify Instant Challenge. I think that IC can be the most intimidating part of DI. Practice a lot. Try to recreate competition situations. Do challenges over and over again, analyzing what you can do better the next time. I think that the most important fact to remember when training for IC is this: your goal in training is not to solve many problems, it is to learn the skills to solve any small problem.
  10. “Gifted’ doesn’t always mean “Creative.” Gifted students are usually given this label due to testing of language, math, memorization, etc. Rarely are students ever tested for creativity. Open team membership to all students.

(Thank you,  NYDI)