The SCAMPER technique is a creativity tool based on the philosophy that everything new is a modification of an idea that already exists. In this method a checklist is used in the form of an acronym, in order to remind you of words and questions that will stimulate the imagination, induce new ideas and help to explore the issues.
The SCAMPER stands for: S-Substitute; C-Combine; A-Adapt; M-Modify, Magnify, Minify; P-Put to other uses; E-Eliminate; R-Reverse or Rearrange
Duration: Long (more than 1 hour)
Complexity: Not defined
Group size: 1 - 10 persons
The SCAMPER technique is a mnemonic acronym that was first proposed by Alex F. Osborne in 1953 and was further developed in 1971 by Bob Eberle in his book, SCAMPER: Games for Imagination Development. SCAMPER is developed as a general-purpose checklist with idea-spurring questions to assist teams with understanding problem solving and developing new solutions based on existing ideas and processes. The following questions are examples of the questions that might trigger new ideas and options in using SCAMPER method: Substitute: What might you substitute? Who else? What else? Where else? What other parts? What other material? What other place? Combine: What might you combine this object with? Can you combine ideas, objects, or functions? What might this also include or do? Adapt: What might you change or do differently? What else is this like? What else does this remind you of? What might you copy? Modify, Magnify, Minify: How might it change if it were bigger or smaller? What might you increase or reduce? How might you enhance or diminish attributes: color, texture, sound, taste, smell, speed? Put to other uses: Are there other uses for this object? What properties suggest another way to use this? What happens if you change context or purpose? Eliminate: Is there something you might eliminate? What might you do without? What might you remove? Reverse or Rearrange: What might you reverse? How might you reorder this? What if you turned it upside down? Backwards? Inside out? What if places or roles were reversed? What if you were to rearrange any parts, timing, objectives?
- Get familiar with the acronym, make sure you know the probing questions.
- If needed print the questions.
- State the challenge briefly and clearly. Write it on a flipchart.
- Pick a letter from the SCAMPER list. State the word it represents and ask, "What new ideas for this challenge might this word suggest?"
- Write the answers on the flipchart.
- Use several probing questions from the description for this word, to help the group stretch and go beyond their first thoughts.
- Choose additional letters from the SCAMPER acronym when you sense that the group needs additional prompting or that they have exhausted the possibilities for any given word. Use any or all of the letters, words, and questions.
- Review the list of options generated by the group to determine if they have met the stated task or challenge.
Hints from experience
It is not obligatory to use all the letters and words or in the same order that they appear in the word SCAMPER.
- Flipchart or Whiteboard
- Note with probing questions
Center for Creative Learning,. (2005). SCAMPER: Overview, Description, and Purpose. Retrieved from http://creativethinktank.wikispaces.com/file/view/GenTool-Scamper.pdf
Eberle, B. (1984). Help! In solving problems creatively at home and school. Carthage: Good Apple
Flylib.com,. (2015). Tool 174: SCAMPER - Six Sigma Tool Navigator: The Master Guide for Teams. Retrieved 3 August 2015, from http://flylib.com/books/en/2.890.1.260/1/
Michalko, M. (2006). Thinker Toys. A handbook of creative-thinking techniques. Berkely, California: Ten Speed Press
SCAMPER. (2009) . Retrieved from https://www.ocps.net/cs/services/cs/currareas/read/ir/bestpractices/sz/scamper_rsm.pdf