Destination Imagination

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U of T Destination Imagination Website

About[edit | edit source]

Destination Imagination Inc. (DI) is the world’s largest creativity and problem solving competition. DI is made up of two components: the central challenge and the instant challenge. Each year five central challenges are issued, combining in varying degrees the following six main themes: technical design, fine arts, scientific research, improvisation, structural/architectural design and service learning. The central challenges are prepared by teams in advance to the competition date. In addition to the major components of the central challenges, teams are able to highlight their unique talents and skills through marked components called team choice elements, which allow the team to create, perform or design anything they desire. Unlike the central challenge that is prepared prior to the competition, the instant challenge is given to the team during a short time frame at the tournament. The instant challenge tests the ability of teams to think on their feet and create quick solutions to problems.

The U of T Destination Imagination teams compete in Ontario on a provincial level and represents Canada internationally at the Global Finals in Knoxville, TN, where they compete against Universities worldwide. U of T DI also provides mentorship to many high school and elementary level teams through workshops and presentations, as well as aid in the appraising of these levels of competition at local competitions. U of T DI currently has the highest ranked University Level Canadian Destination Imagination team and holds much prestige and respect in the DI community.

Mentorship and Workshops[edit | edit source]

The U of T Destination Imagination program strongly believes in supporting younger teams in the development in their skills and abilities. As a result U of T has developed several different training programs to help assist elementary and high school level students in the Destination Imagination program. U of T DI offers a wide variety of workshops which focus on the themes of technical design, scientific research, fine arts, improvisation and structural design; and also offer customized workshops to help support teams throughout their development process.

U of T Destination Imagination also offers continuous support to teams through a yearlong mentorship program. U of T students check in with teams and offer them support in further developing their skills, managing their time and understanding the challenge rules and competition regulations. Recently one of the teams U of T students mentored achieved incredible success. The high school team in the technical challenge from St. Michael’s College School placed 3rd at the Global Finals, the highest ever awarded to a Canadian high school team at the International level.

In addition to workshops and mentorship, this year U of T intends to extend our support to even more elementary and high school students by offering an Instant Challenge Competition.

Challenges[edit | edit source]

A Destination ImagiNation Challenge is an open-ended exercise that prompts students to use creativity and teamwork to solve a problem.

The Destination Imagination program can be broken down into three main challenge categories: Team Challenges, Instant Challenges and the new Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenges.

Team Challenges[edit | edit source]

Team Challenges are designed to be open-ended and multidisciplinary. Teams spend several weeks or months working on the Team Challenge of their choice, and they present their solutions at Tournaments. Each of the six competitive Team Challenges has a different educational and creative focus:

  • Challenge A: Technical Design
  • Challenge B: Scientific Research
  • Challenge C: Fine Arts
  • Challenge D: Improvisation
  • Challenge E: Structural Design
  • projectOUTREACH®: Community Service

Challenge Previews 2016-2017

Instant Challenges[edit | edit source]

Instant Challenges require teams to engage in quick, creative and critical thinking. At a tournament, a team will receive an Instant Challenge and the materials with which to solve it. The team members must think on their feet by applying appropriate skills to produce a solution in a period of just five to eight minutes.

In a world with growing cultural connections, increased levels and types of communication, and a new need for real-time teamwork and problem solving, the ability to solve problems quickly is becoming increasingly critical.

Instant Challenges are performance-based, task-based, or a combination of the two. Although each Instant Challenge has different requirements, all Instant Challenges reward teams for their teamwork and the creativity of their solutions. Instant Challenges are kept confidential through the day of the Tournament.

Workshops[edit | edit source]

The U of T Destination Imagination program strongly believes in supporting teams in the development of their skills and abilities. As a result U of T has developed several different training programs to help students:

Instant Challenge Competition: U of T Destination Imagination is privileged to host and coordinate an annual Instant Challenge Competition for elementary, middle and secondary school students in Toronto. Design & Construction Projects: U of T Destination Imagination (DI) is offering design and construction project support to student groups. U of T DI will be providing student groups training and access to a wide range of tools, workshop space to construct their project, feedback on their project designs, and guidance throughout the construction process. Workshop Series: U of T has developed several different training programs to help assist elementary and high school level students in the Destination Imagination program. For further information on the Instant Challenge Competition, Design & Construction Projects, or the Workshop Series offered by U of T DI, please contact

Achievements[edit | edit source]

The University of Toronto has achieved many awards of high distinction internationally - see the U of T DI Achievements page.

Benefits for Students[edit | edit source]

The intent of U of T DI is to accomplish the following:

(1) To allow students to compete in official local and international Destination Imagination tournaments.

(2) To provide students with an outlet to develop their creative problem solving skills, primarily through the areas of technical design, structural/architectural design, theatre arts and improvisation.

(3) To develop students skills in technical design, structural/architectural design, scientific inquiry, research, fine arts, music, theatre arts and improvisation.

(4) To provide students a means to develop their interpersonal skills and teamwork through team challenges and designed activities.

(5) To enable students to reach out to the community, to act in leadership positions and to develop their public speaking skills. This will be accomplished primarily through workshops and presentations delivered to high school and elementary level students, as well as mentorship of high school and elementary level students and volunteering at local tournaments.

(6) To create global leaders by providing students with an international experience where they can discover an appreciation for various cultures and styles through competition.

The DI program allows students to develop their creativity and problem solving skills while honing the techniques and skills learnt in class. Students are able to develop their social skills through the team atmosphere of the competition, while, at the same time, gaining hands-on experience in a full design process. Students are able to gain life and work experience through approaching a problem in an engineering manner, while balancing various other non-technical design criteria. It further allows students to enhance their Skule experience by integrating theatre, improvisation, structural and technical design in an innovative and unique way.

Student Skill Development

The founding members of the organization have competed at the Provincial level for the past 10 years and have qualified for International competition 8 of those years. Through mentorship, new team members learn construction and design techniques as well as how to use various tools and materials. Students gain experience in a wide variety of fields ranging from improvisational techniques and public speaking to electrical circuitry and structural design. Students are encouraged to develop their skills and increase their knowledge base in order to best address problems they might encounter both through competition and in real life scenarios. Furthermore, the competition has a ‘no interference’ policy, which means team members must develop their solution completely independently, pushing them to solve these problems on their own.

Students Develop as Global Citizens and Leaders

The elementary and high school mentorship aspect allows team members to hone their public speaking skills, develop their leadership skills and prepares them for future leadership positions. Moreover, the team environment of the competition helps teach students co-operation and teamwork, two traits which are critical to success in any employment. The International aspect of the competition exposes students to various cultures and their correlation with design, creativity, problem solving, teamwork and leadership. The International competition allows students to develop relationships with employers, students and various other likeminded individuals worldwide.

Sponsorship[edit | edit source]

Interested in Sponsoring the Program? Every year, over 13,000 teams and 65,000 people, ranging from elementary to university levels, compete across the globe in Destination Imaginations. Our teams in the past have brought out the largest crowds ever seen at the Global Tournament and our team signs and materials were on display for the entire week for general view. Find out how to sponsor the program here.

For more information contact: