SCAMPER is a brainstorming technique that can be used in various contexts to generate new ideas and solutions. It was developed by Bob Eberle in the early 1970s and has been widely used in business, education, and creative fields.
The technique encourages individuals to think laterally, looking at problems from different angles, and generating new ideas by questioning assumptions.
Here’s a breakdown of what each letter of the mnemonic represents:
This involves thinking about what could be replaced or substituted in the current product or process.
For example, you might ask, “What if we substituted this material for a more sustainable one?” or “What if we used a different method to manufacture this product?”
This involves considering what elements could be combined to create something new or more effective.
For example, you might ask, “What if we combined these two features to create a new product?” or “What if we combined these two departments to streamline operations?”
This involves thinking about how something could be adapted to better suit its purpose or environment.
For example, you might ask, “What if we adapted this product to be more accessible to a different demographic?” or “What if we adapted this process to work more efficiently?”
This involves thinking about how something could be modified or improved to make it more effective.
For example, you might ask, “What if we modified this product to be more durable?” or “What if we modified this process to reduce waste?”
Put to another use
This involves thinking about how something could be used for a different purpose or in a different context.
For example, you might ask, “What if we used this product for a different market?” or “What if we used this process for a different application?”
This involves thinking about what elements could be removed or eliminated to make something more efficient or effective.
For example, you might ask, “What if we eliminated this step in the process?” or “What if we eliminated this feature from the product?”
This involves thinking about how something could be reversed or flipped to create a new perspective or opportunity.
For example, you might ask, “What if we reversed the order of this process?” or “What if we flipped the target audience for this product?”
By using the SCAMPER technique, individuals or teams can stimulate creative thinking, generate a range of ideas, and encourage innovation.
The technique has been shown to be effective in problem-solving, product development, and process improvement.
How to use SCAMPER brainstorming technique
To use SCAMPER, follow these steps:
- Identify the product or service you want to improve.
- Go through each of the SCAMPER categories and ask relevant questions. For example:
- Substitute: Can we substitute any components or materials to make it better?
- Combine: Can we combine it with something else to improve it?
- Adapt: How can we adapt it to different situations or audiences?
- Modify: Can we modify its shape, size, color, or other features to make it better?
- Put to another use: Can we use it for a different purpose or in a different context?
- Eliminate: Can we eliminate any unnecessary features or steps?
- Reverse: Can we reverse any assumptions or steps to create a new solution?
- Write down all the ideas generated from each question in a list or mind map.
- Review and refine the list to select the best ideas for implementation.
SCAMPER brainstorming technique Example
Let’s say you want to improve a mobile phone. Using SCAMPER, you might ask questions like:
- Substitute: Can we substitute the touch screen with a new technology?
- Combine: Can we combine the phone with a wearable device?
- Adapt: How can we adapt the phone for elderly users or people with disabilities?
- Modify: Can we modify the phone’s design to be more ergonomic?
- Put to another use: Can we use the phone as a remote control for other devices?
- Eliminate: Can we eliminate any pre-installed apps that are rarely used?
- Reverse: Can we reverse the order of the menus to create a new user experience?
These questions can lead to new ideas for improving the mobile phone, such as creating a touchless interface or integrating the phone with a smartwatch.
Benefits of SCAMPER
Some benefits of using SCAMPER brainstorming technique are:
- It provides a structured approach to idea generation.
- It encourages creative thinking by breaking down assumptions and conventions.
- It can be used for a wide range of products, services, and problems.
- It can be done individually or in a group.
What is SCAMPER technique in teaching?
The SCAMPER technique can also be applied in teaching as a way to promote creative thinking and problem-solving skills among students. In the educational context, the SCAMPER technique can be used to:
- Enhance critical thinking: By asking questions related to each of the SCAMPER principles, students are encouraged to think deeply about a subject, identify potential issues, and evaluate possible solutions.
- Promote brainstorming: The SCAMPER technique encourages students to generate a wide range of ideas by exploring different avenues for innovation and creativity.
- Enhance creativity: The SCAMPER technique provides a structured framework for exploring new ideas, which can help students think outside the box and come up with fresh solutions.
- Foster collaboration: The SCAMPER technique can be used in group settings to promote collaboration and brainstorming among students.
- Improve problem-solving skills: By applying the SCAMPER principles to a problem or challenge, students can gain new insights and develop creative solutions that they may not have considered otherwise.
Overall, the SCAMPER technique can be a powerful tool for educators looking to enhance critical thinking, promote creativity, and improve problem-solving skills among their students.