How to Choose a Team Challenge

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How to Choose a Team Challenge

October 14, 2015

Written by Andrew Whitmire

Welcome to the Destination Imagination (DI) Challenge Program! By now, you most likely have a lovely copy of the 2015-16 DI Team Challenge Program Materials. If you’re at this point in the process, you should also have a team of 5-7 excited and willing team members.

As you look through the Program Materials you may be feeling a little overwhelmed by the number of pages that are available for you and your team to read and understand. Take a deep breath. The Program Materials are not meant to be read cover to cover.

The first thing you should do is open the Roadmap book or download it from Resource Area.

The Roadmap breaks down the DI program into 16 individual sessions or team meetings. It uses the steps of the creative process and the Project Management process (courtesy of Project Management Institute Education Foundation) to help teams arrive at Team Challenge solutions by the time they present at their first tournament. If you use Roadmap frequently, your team will be more successful overall. If you use Roadmap, you should consider yourself a super Team Manager.

In the very first session, there is a magical tool (the Team Choice Element Inventory) that can help your team choose the Team Challenge that they will spend the next few months solving.

The Team Choice Element Inventory (page 24) is a four-part activity. It is a good session starter because it allows team members to learn more about each other and themselves. Instructions are on each form, so simply follow these steps:

  • First, have each team member fill out the Individual Specialties Inventory
  • Second, have the team add their scores on the Individual Specialties Tally Sheet
  • Third, combine all team member scores on the Team Specialties Tally Sheet
  • Fourth, discuss the results and talk about how your team’s talents might help you choose a Team Challenge

Your team is now ready to consider each competitive Team Challenge. There are 6 different Challenge categories to choose from.

  • Technical: Pace of Change
  • Scientific: In Plain Sight 
  • Fine Arts: Get a Clue 
  • Improvisational: Close Encounters 
  • Structural: Musical Mashup 
  • Service Learning (Project Outreach): The Meme Event 

Take a sneak peak at this season’s Challenges:


Before the team makes any decisions about which Challenge they would like to choose they should:

  • Read each Challenge
  • Consider the results of their Team Specialties Inventory
  • Discuss basic solutions for each Challenge
  • Don’t forget to have fun doing it! This process should be enjoyable.

After the team feels fully informed about each Challenge, they can then take a vote. Leave no one behind. Not even this girl. She’s on the team too.


If the team cannot decide which Challenge to take on because of a tie, they can use the Paired Choice Analysis Form on page 91 of Roadmap.

This activity will allow the team to turn their individual Challenge preferences into number values. It will also help take the emotion out of choosing a Challenge because whichever Challenge receives the most points, wins!

Once your team has chosen their Challenge, they are ready to go.   

Good luck, teams! 

For Team Manager Tips this season, click here. And be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date with the latest DI news and contests!


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