SCAMPER method – Explore your creativity

SCAMPER method – Explore your creativity

Do you want to create changes? Have you been wondering why people can invent those inevitable yet very simple innovations, like suitcase wheels or zippers, etc.? Did you realize some inconveniences in daily life but have not yet know how to improve them? This brainstorming method can help you to identify problems and come up with ideas.

So how does SCAMPER work?

This technique is developed by Alex Osborn, credited by many as the originator of brainstorming, who came up with the questions, and Bob Eberle, an education administrator and author, who organized those questions into the SCAMPER mnemonic.

You use the tool by asking questions about existing products, using each of the seven prompts below. These questions help you come up with creative ideas for developing new products, and for improving current ones.


1. Substitute

  • What materials or resources can you substitute or swap to improve the product?
  • What other product or process could you use?
  • What rules could you substitute?
  • Can you use this product somewhere else, or as a substitute for something else?
  • What will happen if you change your feelings or attitude toward this product?

2. Combine

  • What would happen if you combine this product with another, to create something new?
  • What if you combine purposes or objectives?
  • What could you combine to maximize the uses of this product?
  • How could you combine talent and resources to create a new approach to this product?

3. Adapt

  • How could you adapt or readjust this product to serve another purpose or use?
  • What else is the product like?
  • Who or what could you emulate to adapt this product?
  • What else is like your product?
  • What other context could you put your product into?
  • What other products or ideas could you use for inspiration?

4. Modify

  • How could you change the shape, look, or feel of your product?
  • What could you add to modify this product?
  • What could you emphasize or highlight to create more value?
  • What element of this product could you strengthen to create something new?

5. Put to another use

  • Can you use this product somewhere else, perhaps in another industry?
  • Who else could use this product?
  • How would this product behave differently in another setting?
  • Could you recycle the waste from this product to make something new?

6. Eliminate

  • How could you streamline or simplify this product?
  • What features, parts, or rules could you eliminate?
  • What could you understate or tone down?
  • How could you make it smaller, faster, lighter, or more fun?
  • What would happen if you took away part of this product? What would you have in its place?

7. Reverse

  • What would happen if you reversed this process or sequenced things differently?
  • What if you try to do the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do now?
  • What components could you substitute to change the order of this product?
  • What roles could you reverse or swap?
  • How could you reorganize this product?

This method can be used for considering alterations among any products, services, processes, experiences, and even people. Of course, things don’t just fall right into place if you can answer this question solely. There are also needs for observation, interaction with people, active listening, and so on. SCAMPER can help you spark up ideas, it shouldn’t the sole basis to develop your business, there is more to do and of course much more fun to explore!

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