Destination Imagination (DI) is a volunteer-led, educational non-profit that teaches 21st century skills and STEM principles to kindergarten through university level students through creative and collaborative problem solving Challenges. Team members work together to develop a solution to one of 7 open-ended Challenges and present their solutions at tournaments. Through the Challenge program, students learn and experience the creative process from imagination to innovation and learn skills needed to succeed in school, career and life, including teamwork, communication, project management, perseverance, creative and critical thinking, and self-confidence.
DestiNation ImagiNation, founded in 1999, emerged as the result of a dispute between splinter factions within the Odyssey of the Mind Organization, which originated 20 years earlier in 1978 as a creative problem solving competition at Glassboro State College in New Jersey. On September 24 1999, Odyssey of the Mind Association, Inc. (the non-profit group responsible for holding international creative-thinking competitions), and Creative Competitions, Inc. (the for-profit group holding intellectual property on and generating sales on support materials), reached an agreement wherein Creative Competitions would retain intellectual property rights and both organizations would sponsor separate creative competitions. During the dispute, Odyssey volunteers formed another problem-solving organization, DestiNation ImagiNation, because they feared the legal dispute would hold up the year’s competition. DestiNation ImagiNation subsequently merged with OM Association “to help unify our volunteers and make (our group) the pre-eminent world-class problem-solving program for students,” according to then-OM Association Executive Director Robert Purifico.[].
In 2011, researchers from the University of Virginia Curry School of Education conducted an independent research evaluation of the DI program. The evaluation focused on the program’s effectiveness, impact and participant satisfaction in areas relating to creative problem-solving, creative and critical thinking, teamwork and leadership. Among other findings, the researchers reported, “Students who participated in the activities and tournaments provided by DI outperformed comparable students who had not participated in DI on assessments measuring creative thinking, critical thinking and collaborative problem solving.”