Destination ImagiNation

Destination ImagiNation
The Destination ImagiNation logo

Destination ImagiNation Inc. or DI is a creative problem solving organization for youth and adults. Destination ImagiNation's educational goals are to foster creative and critical thinking, to develop teamwork, collaboration and leadership skills, and to nurture research and inquiry skills involving both creative exploration and attention to detail. The program is open to students from elementary school through college. Teams of up to seven members compete in various challenges that require complex thinking, problem solving, teamwork and creativity. The organization holds international competitions to encourage creativity in the world's youth. The Destination Imagination headquarters are located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.



The Destination ImagiNation program was created in 1999.[1] It legally dissolved into the OM Association, Inc. during the 2000 and 2001 season.[2][3][4] The resulting Destination ImagiNation, non-profit organization, has provided almost one million students with an enriching educational and extracurricular experience. Destination ImagiNation currently provides creativity, teamwork, and problem-solving programs with approximately 80,000 participants and 20,000 volunteers from 35 states and approximately 20 countries.[5]


A DI team comprises anywhere from two to seven members and one or two team managers, who must be 18 or older to be head manager. The Team Manager of each team serves only as a facilitator; he or she is prohibited from assisting the team in its solution.

Though the team is often associated with a public or private school, community organization, or church, any group can register for competition. Groups must first purchase a membership through Destination ImagiNation, Inc. After that the team registers with its local DI affiliate. Teams also have the chance to choose their own name by which they are identified for the duration of the year.

Each team is registered to participate at a certain competition level, which is decided by the age of the oldest team member.

  • Rising Stars: grades K-2 or 5–9 years old
  • Elementary: grades K-5 or no student above 12
  • Middle: grades 6-8 or no student above 15
  • Secondary: high school or no student above 19
  • University: college, graduate school and armed forces with no younger students

Teams can include up to seven members[6] No maximum restriction exists if the team is within the Rising Stars category. After being formed, each team chooses a Team Challenge, which it will work to solve until the first competition. The team works together to create a solution, to present it on tournament day.

Destination Imagination Affiliates

Associations for U.S. states

International Affiliates

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Curaçao
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • Germany
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Malaysia
  • Mariana Islands
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Puerto Rico
  • Scotland
  • Singapore
  • Soloman Islands
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • Venezuela

Team Challenges

Each year, five new Team Challenges are written by a board of writers for the program, known as challenge DIvelopers. Generally, there is a challenge that relates to each of the following areas:

  • engineering/technical
  • technical/theatrical
  • theatrical
  • structural
  • improvisation[7]
  • philanthropic
  • rising stars (a non-competitive challenge for DI's youngest participants)

Each challenge includes aspects of each of these. The Team Challenge requires that the team write a skit of up to eight minutes in length (or six minutes for improvisational or nonverbal challenges) that creatively presents the solution to a problem presented in the challenge explanation. The goal of the challenge is that the team develops a solution that is integrally tied into the creative skit. Points are awarded not only for completing the challenge's requirements, but also for creativity, teamwork, and performance. Only registered team members can help with the challenge.

For most team challenges, up to 240 points are based on the Central Challenge (the team's creative solution to the basic problem, including their artistic presentation of the solution), and an additional 30 points can be earned for each of two Team Choice Elements, formerly called Side Trips (team-chosen stylistic elements of the presentation; e.g. costumes, props, music, etc).

Improv Challenges require team members to select skit elements (some pre-researched, some not) and create a skit in 30 minutes of "StuDIo" time. They then present their skit, which is limited to 5 minutes in length. This type of challenge diverges from the traditional script writing and acting to focus on quick thinking and team work. This segment is worth up to 300 points and does not feature Team Choice Elements.

List of Team Challenges

Program Year A
Fine Arts
Rising Stars!® projectOUTREACH®
2011-2012 [8] Assembly Required The Solar Stage Coming Attractions News To Me Hold It! Built to Last The World Canvas
2010-2011 [9] Unidentified Moving Object Spinning a Tale Triple Take Road Show Mythology Mission Verses! Foiled Again! Big Bug's Bad Day Dynamic Networks
2009-2010 [10] DIrect DIposit DI-Bot You’re Gonna Flip! Do or DI Breaking DI News Weighty News Band Together
2008-2009 [11] Operation Cooperation Instinct Messaging ViDIo Lit Hits Private DI A New Angle! Hidden! Take Charge
2007-2008 [12] Obstacles, Of Course! Hit or Myth DI've Got a Secret! Chorific! SWITCH! TwisDId History
2006-2007 [7] DIrect Flight CSI-DI Round About Courage Switching TraDItions Card-DI-ology Make It New, It's Up To You
2005-2006 Back At You! Kidz Rulz! How’d tHAT Happen? On Safari The Inside DImension 1-2-Change-A-ROO
2004-2005 DIzzy Derby Sudden SerenDIpity Live! It's RaDIo DI! IMPROVing Along DIsigning Bridges More to the Story!
2003-2004 Destinations in Time The Plot and the Pendulum Cartoon DImensions Upbeat Improv GuessDImate! Surprise Trip!
2002-2003 ViDIo Adventure Change in DIrection Theatre Smarts Once Improv A Time ConnecDId Lost and Found
2001-2002 It's Your Move On Holiday Dual DI-lemma StranDId The Art of Improv
2000-2001 IncreDIble TechEffects Mystery Loves Company Anonymously Yours DInamic Improv Triplicity
1999-2000 Fruit Roller Coaster & Eggploration If Music Be the Food of Life... Play on! Mixing Apples and Oranges Instant Pudding Improv It's Not Impastable!

Instant Challenge

An important part of every DI competition is the Instant Challenge (IC). An Instant Challenge is a new, previously unseen challenge, requiring a quick, improvised solution. To maintain fairness, every team at a tournament competing in the same team challenge and age level is given the same Instant Challenge. To maintain this surprise, Instant Challenges are conducted in a private room, with no more than one Team Manager for an audience, and the teams must pledge not to divulge the nature of the challenge until the competition is over.

Upon entering the Instant Challenge, a team is given a one-page description of its Instant Challenge and a set of items that the team's members may use. The challenge is read aloud, and then the time begins. Teams are given between two and ten minutes to create a solution; the typical duration is four to six minutes. A given challenge usually demands a dramatic presentation, a technical device or system, or both. The goal of the Instant Challenge is to exercise on-your-feet thinking, problem solving, and teamwork.[13]

At a competition, an Instant Challenge score is typically one quarter of the total competition score.


In the spring, after months of preparation, each region of each affiliate holds a "Regional" competition to select the best teams for each level of each challenge. The winning teams are then eligible to compete at the affiliate-level "State" competition, which is held a few weeks after the regional competition, differing between affiliates and regions.[14] In May of each year, the Global Finals are held in Knoxville, Tennessee (although it is not a permanent location). This is the final competition level and is attended by those teams that advance beyond the affiliate (State) level. The 4-day event has an atmosphere akin to the Olympics with pin trading, high quality competition, and teams.

At each competition, a team is required to perform two tasks. First, the team performs its eight minute solution to the long-term challenge. Second, the team is required to complete an Instant Challenge, an improvised performance ranging from completely dramatic to highly technical. The scores for the Instant Challenge are factored significantly into the final scoring of teams for their placing at the awards ceremonies, in which high-scoring teams receive ribbons, medals,trophies, or certificates and learn whether they will be advancing to the next level of competition, including the Global Finals.

Global Finals

Global Finals, the final competition level, has been held annually in May in Knoxville, Tennessee at the University of Tennessee since 2001. The first Destination ImagiNation Global Finals was held in Ames, Iowa at Iowa State University in May 2000.[15] All participating team members stay in area hotels or in the dormitories of the campus each year. The competition is also held on campus. During the week of the competition, participants are encouraged to be involved in pin trading, an activity in which team members exchange their state or country's pin for the pins of another team's state or country. There is always an opening ceremony welcoming the teams to the Global Finals competition as well as a closing ceremony presenting results. Not only does the main competition take place at the university, but also recreational activities. In the Knoxville convention center, pin trading and competitions take place. Each state, region, or team designs pins and brings them to the Global Finals.


  1. ^ "Articles of Incorporation"Colorado Secretary of State. Accessed 22 Aug 2008.
  2. ^ "Nonsurviving Entity In Merger"Colorado Secretary of State. Accessed 07 Oct 2008.
  3. ^ "OM Association History 1982-1983"WayBack Machine Internet Archives Accessed 19 Oct 2008.
  4. ^ "2000 IRS Form 990"GuideStar. Accessed 07 Oct 2008.
  5. ^ "IRS 990 Records for EIN 22-2415554"Urban Institute National Center for Charitable Statistics Accessed 08 Oct 2008.
  6. ^ "What is DI?" Destination Imagination. Accessed 19 Apr. 2007.
  7. ^ a b "Team Challenges." Destination Imagination. Accessed 19 Apr. 2007.
  8. ^ "2011-12 Challenge Previews" "Destination ImagiNation." Accessed 21 June 2011.
  9. ^ "Challenge Previews 2010-11" Destination Imagination. Accessed 05 October 2010.
  10. ^ "Sneak Peeks 2009-010" Destination Imagination. Accessed 23 June 2009.
  11. ^ "Sneak Peeks 2008-09" Destination Imagination. Accessed 19 April 2008.
  12. ^ "Sneak Peaks 2007-08." Destination Imagination. Accessed 22 Apr. 2007.
  13. ^ "Instant Challenges." Destination Imagination. Accessed 1 Dec. 2008.
  14. ^ Tournaments Destination Imagination Accessed 5 June 2007.
  15. ^ Inside Iowa State Iowa State University Accessed 30 January 2010.

External links

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