Comparing Odyssey to DI

Compare NJ Odyssey of the Mind to NJ Destination Imagination

Odyssey of the Mind is the original creative problem solving program, founded in 1978 at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) right here in New Jersey! We are proud to have just celebrated our 40th anniversary and are thrilled to continue the program that has shaped the futures of so many New Jersey students. In 1999, a group split off from Odyssey of the Mind to form their own program, calling it “Destination Imagination” and modeling it very much after the original Odyssey of the Mind program. While we have always felt that it being involved in some type of creative problem solving program is a great boon for kids and their families, there are several distinct differences.

  1. NJ Odyssey of the Mind costs significantly less for schools, teams and families
    • Our membership fee is $135 for up to 15competitive teams with unlimited K-2 Primary teams. DI’s is $145 per team, no matter the age or competition level.
    • Our tournament fee in NJ is only $75 per team.NJ DI’s is $100+ for DI
    • World Finals for Odyssey of the Mind is about $600per person, inclusive of room and board (total: $4,800 for 7 team members + 1 coach). DI Global Finals is a $5500 registration fee plus “find room and board on your own”.

  2.  New Jersey Odyssey of the Mind is 100% volunteer-run; all tournament registration fees go directly back to the program and the kids. NJ OotM does not pay any salaries, we all do this out of a love for the program what it does for kids!

  3. New Jersey Odyssey of the Mind is 100% volunteer-run; all tournament registration fees go directly back to the program and the kids. NJ OotM does not pay any salaries, we all do this out of a love for the program what it does for kids!

  4. NJ OotM has a 30+ person Board ofDirectors/Leadership Team for our almost 300 teams across 4 annual tournaments – three Regional Tournaments and State Finals. With this combined team of former coaches, former officials, and even a number of former competitors – our collective 300+ years of experience in all aspects of the program help keep running the best program possible. NJ DI has one “State Finals” tournament for about 100 teams run by a dozen people.

  5. Odyssey of the Mind National Membership fee has remained at $135 for 20 years to ensure an accessible program for all schools, districts, and families. DI continues to change their fee structure to maximize their profits. Higher cost does not necessarily equal higher quality, it just makes it less affordable.

  6. Problems are designed based on Dr. Sam’s college creative problem solving course he established, right here at Glassboro StateCollege (now Rowan University).

  7. Problem Writers have combined over 100 years of experience. DI puts out job postings for problem developers that say “no experience is needed”.

  8. Odyssey of the Mind Problem Writers incorporate past learning experiences into new problems, and are written and reviewed by a collective team of officials, coaches, and former competitors – so they knowhow it works across the entire program.

  9. Odyssey of the Mind has a clarification system established to ensure the problems do not inadvertently stifle creativity. We fully acknowledge that we’re working with some of the most creative kids in the world – and that there is absolutely no way, no matter how much experience, we’ll think of everything up front! But then again, that’s the whole point.

  10. Odyssey of the Mind problems are simpler to understand – averaging only 6 pages of guidelines vs. over 20 pages for DI. Asa side effect, this also leads to a lot more creativity … because if we don’t say you can’t do it … you can (and they do)!

  11. CCI was created in 1979 and is still a New Jersey-based small business, ensuring that the problems used in Odyssey of the Mind are developed by experienced writers, quality is not sacrificed, and the original vision of “helping teach kids creativity” is not diluted. While DI is a non-profit, that is only a tax status, it is still a business with a large, highly-paid staff, plenty of assets, and a desire to make as much money as possible.

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions, and please take a look at our Open Letter to NJ DI teams on the recent price hikes and Global Finals relocation.

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