Team Manager Tips: Understanding Interference

A Destination Imagination student and parent pose for a photo in the pin trading area of Global Finals. Text says, "Tips for Team Managers: Understanding Interference."

In the Destination Imagination Challenge Experience, one of our most valuable components is our Interference policy. Kids must work together as a team to solve their Challenge without any input or ideas from others, including Team Managers, parents, and friends. In doing this, kids learn how to problem-solve and make compromises, become more independent, and gain confidence and self-esteem.

As a Team Manager, there will probably be moments during your team meetings when you are watching your team members come up with ideas or build something for their Challenge solution and think, “that’s not gonna work.” However, it’s important for them to face challenges on their own and to experience setbacks in order to better position themselves for success in the future. (Failure is something to be embraced, not feared!) By teaching kids to embrace their mistakes and to reflect on the process, they can see what went wrong, make changes, and try again. 

As a Team Manager or parent, there are a variety of ways you can help guide your team without interfering, including, but not limited to:

  • guiding your team through the creative process, including teaching them to use idea-generating tools and encouraging them to build an ideas list.
  • teaching your team members new skills that they need to build and complete their solution.
  • helping your team learn to find answers on their own (such as having them reread their Challenge, check Rules of the Road, review Published Clarifications, or as for a Team Clarification).
  • determining safety rules to ensure that your team members know how to handle tools and other materials safely. 
  • helping your team understand project management methods and tools to stay on track throughout the season.
  • asking open-ended questions to help your team members broaden their thinking processes.

Here are a few things your team members must work on together without any interference:

  • Choosing their Team Challenge
  • Generating ideas
  • Making decisions
  • Researching
  • Managing their project timeline
  • Designing and building their solution
  • Managing their budget
  • Solving conflicts

The Interference Triangle is a useful tool to help you remember what Interference is and what Team Managers and other people are allowed to do to help the team. Team Managers, parents, and other non-team members may only enter the purple areas below.

Remember, your team’s solution is the team’s alone!

For more information on Interference, please see Rules of the Road (available in the Resource Area) and take our Understanding Interference training on DI’s learning portal. You can also check out our Interference videos on our “Tips for DI Team Managers” YouTube playlist