Set ideas free with SCAMPER
SCAMPER is a creative brainstorming technique that helps teams explore ideas from seven different perspectives. Use it to ignite your team’s potential and inspire smart decision-making.
No two teams are alike, and no single work process or solution makes sense for every team. If your team is struggling to find their creative groove, don’t fall back on the same old brainstorming methods. Instead, use Post-it® Super Sticky Notes, Post-it® Super Sticky Easel Pad and the SCAMPER method to help your team make their good ideas even better.
What is SCAMPER?
SCAMPER is a creative brainstorming technique. The name stands for
S = Substitute
C = Combine
A = Adapt
M = Modify
P = Put to another use
E = Eliminate
R = Reverse
Bob Eberle, an author of books on creativity for young people, introduced the SCAMPER mnemonic in 1971 in his book Scamper: Games for Imagination Development. The technique draws heavily from the Idea Spurring Checklist developed by advertising executive Alex Osborn in the early 1950s.
SCAMPER can help teams spark ideas for new tools, processes, services and more by encouraging them to think about ways to improve existing ones. This method is particularly useful for generating ideas for new product development. Best of all, when everyone’s thoughts are on Post-it® Super Sticky Notes, you level the playing field, allowing great ideas to come from all levels of your organization.
How to use it
- Take an existing product or service and place it in the center. Place seven easel pad sheets around the room to create seven sections for brainstorming, as shown in the diagram.
- Ask questions about the product using the mnemonic (or memory aid) to guide your thinking.
- Substitute: What can be replaced? (for example, components, materials, people)
- Combine: What can be combined? (for example, other features, devices)
- Adapt: What can be added? (such as new elements or functions)
- Modify: What can be modified? (for example, change the size, shape color or other attribute)
- Put to other use: Could you put the product to a different use, or use it in another industry?
- Eliminate: What can be removed or simplified?
- Reverse: What would happen if you reversed the product’s production process? What can be swapped or flipped?
- Work your way through each of the seven sections, adding different colored notes in each section. At the end of each section, discuss the ideas as a team. This will help your team refine and generate new ideas throughout the exercise.
- Once you’ve completed all seven sections, evaluate all the notes as a team, discuss the common themes from the exercise and where to focus.
The most powerful ideas require teamwork, creative thinking and different perspectives. With the SCAMPER method, your team can harness everyone’s point of view to improve on ideas and reach the best decisions.