Interference In A Nutshell

If you have been around DI for a while, you may have heard the term Interference.  In the simplest terms, no one outside the team may help in any way with the solution to the Challenge. Team members will sign a contract prior to every tournament stating that the solution is theirs and no one outside the team helped.

What does this mean exactly?  In DI, the solution belongs to the team members and the team members alone. All ideas, scenery, scripts and props come from and are created by the team members. Some programs even leave it up to the teams to choose the Challenge they wish to solve. Team Managers, parents, grandparents, siblings and the neighbor kid CANNOT tell the team members what to do, how to do it or do it for them. Unless of course, the neighbor kid is on the team.

Interference happens when non-team members participate in any part of solving the Challenge. Interference is the antithesis of what DI is about.

Team members however can look to outside sources so they can be taught skills that they feel are necessary to complete their solution.

If it has been determined that Interference has happened, a team can receive a points deduction and/or be disqualified at a tournament.

Here are a few examples, and these are by far not every situation, where Interference can happen:

Situation: Peter wants to be a pink cat and make his costume out of pink fabric.
Interference:  Grandma tells him that cats are not pink and makes a brown cat costume out of brown paper bags for him.
What can happen: Grandma can teach Peter how to sew and take him to the fabric store so he can pick out his pink fabric.  Peter decides how much fabric he needs and what color pink he would like.

Situation: Miguel asks his older sister Rita, who is not on the team, to help write the team’s story.
Interference:  Rita writes the story/script and the team uses it.
What can happen: Miguel and his teammates can ask Rita if she will write down what they say.  Rita can then rewrite or type up the story/script as long as it is in the team’s own words.

Situation: Team House of Cards wants to get costumes from a thrift store.
Interference: The Team Manager goes to the thrift store and buys a bunch of costumes.
What can happen: The team can give a specific list of items to the Team Manager who can then go to the store and buy them. A better solution might be to take the team to the store and have them pick out the items themselves.

Situation: Miguel asks his Dad what he thinks his team should build as a prop.
Interference: Dad tells Miguel he thinks they should build a rocket ship.
What can happen: Dad can ask Miguel what he thinks they should build and maybe make a list.  Then ask him to think about how everything on the list fits in with the solution to the Challenge before he and the team decide what to build.

Situation: Carla and her team need to build a structure out of wood and glue.
Interference:  Carla’s mom works for a lumber company and she picks out the wood and glue he thinks they should use.
What can happen:  Mom can teach Carla and the team properties of different kinds of wood and different kinds of glue.  The team then decides which wood and glue they wish to use to build their structure.

Situation: Joselyn and Corey always have their backs to where the audience would be when they are practicing their skit.
Interference: The Team Manager tells them to turn around and face the audience.
What can happen: Team members can be taught general acting techniques but cannot be directed by the Team Manager (or anyone else) as they practice the actual skit for their Challenge solution.

Situation: Team Free Hugs wants to build a backdrop using plywood.
Interference: The shop teacher cuts the plywood for them and puts it together while he’s at it.
What can happen:  The shop teacher can teach the team how to use a saw.  The team then decides where and how to cut the wood and how to put the pieces together.  If the team cannot cut the wood or put it together themselves, then they must find another way to build their backdrop.

Situation:  Tara and Timmy want to nail some boards together.
Interference:  A mom thinks that is too dangerous so she holds the boards while the team members nail them together.
What can happen: The team members are taught how to safely nail boards together in a general sense.  If the team members decide that they cannot safely nail the boards together they must find another way to accomplish this task.  If a Team Manager determines that there is a safety issue with anything the team members wish to do, he or she can bring the safety issue to the team members’ attention and ask the team members if they should entertain other ways to accomplish this task.

Situation:  Rising Stars! team member Tristan wishes to use a razor blade to cut out some cardboard.
Interference: A Team Manager or other adult does it for him.
What can happen: Interference is a little different in the Rising Stars! level where some adult help is allowed.  Adults should not read this to mean they can do everything for the team members.  Minimal assistance should be offered.  In this case an adult can help guide Tristan while he cuts the cardboard, showing him the proper safety techniques using a razor blade to cut cardboard.

Situation:  Team Pretzel Sticks, a team of third graders, is getting ready for their Main Challenge performance at a tournament and their backdrop falls over and breaks.
Interference: A parent comes over and fixes it for them or holds it while they fix it.
What can happen: Only the team members of Team Pretzel Sticks can help put the backdrop back together.

Parents, Team Managers or any other non-team member cannot hold or help fix the backdrop.  Non-team members can carry scenery and props to and from the performance site but cannot help assemble, prepare or repair anything having to do with the team’s solution.

From the Rules of the Road: Safety is always paramount for Destination Imagination teams. It is not Interference for a Team Manager or parent to point out something to the team that the Team Manager or parent considers unsafe, nor is it Interference to prevent the team from engaging in any unsafe behavior. The team must then figure out what it needs to do to be sure its solution is safe.

Parents and Team Managers should avoid telling team members things like, “I think your skit should be about this…,’ or ‘Why don’t you build a rocket ship as a prop?’  Instead, answer their questions with more, open-ended questions:  “What do you want to build?” ” What do you think will happen if you try that?” ‘From what materials do you think it should be made?”

This is just one-way team members will gain valuable knowledge and experience from the process. In addition, teams can lose points at a tournament if it is determined that Interference has taken place.

An in-depth explanation of Interference can be found in the Rules of the Road.  Team Managers are advised to go over Interference with the team members and the parents.