The SCAMPER technique uses a set of directed questions which you answer about
your probortunity in order to
come up with new ideas. The stimulus comes from forcing yourself to answer
questions which you would not normally pose. The questions direct you to thinking
about a probortunity in ways which typically come up with new ideas.
SCAMPER is an acronym which stands for questions relating to the following:
Think about substituting
part of your product/process for something else. By looking for something
to substitute you can often come up with new ideas.
What can I substitute to make an improvement? What if I swap this for
that and see what happens? How can I substitute the place, time, materials
Think about combining two
or more parts of your probortunity to achieve a different product/process
or to enhance synergy.
Typical questions: What materials, features,
processes, people, products or components can I combine? Where can I build
Think about which parts of the product/process
could be adapted to remove the probortunity or think how you could change
the nature of the product/process.
Typical questions: What part of the product
could I change? And in exchange for what? What if I were to change the
characteristics of a component?
Think about changing part or all of the
current situation, or to distort it in an unusual way. By forcing yourself
to come up with new ways of working, you are often prompted into an alternative
Typical questions: What happens if I warp
or exaggerate a feature or component? What will happen if I modify the
process in some way?
Put to other purposes
Think of how you might be able to put your current solution/ product/process
to other purposes, or think of what you could reuse from somewhere else
in order to solve your own probortunity. You might think of another
way of solving your own probortunity or finding another market for your
Typical questions: What other market could
I use this product in? Who or what else might be able to use it?
Think of what might happen if you eliminated
various parts of the product/process/probortunity and consider what you
might do in that situation. This often leads you to consider different
ways of tackling the probortunity.
Typical questions: What would happen if
I removed a component or part of it? How else would I achieve the solution
without the normal way of doing it?
Think of what you would do if part of your probortunity/product/process
worked in reverse or done in a different order. What would you do if
you had to do it in reverse? You can use this to see your probortunity
from different angles and come up with new ideas.
Typical questions: What if
I did it the other way round? What if I reverse the order it is done or
the way it is used? How would I achieve the opposite effect?
In essence you should ask yourself questions relating to each of the SCAMPER
words to come up with new ideas. Spend some time developing questions which
challenge your current way of thinking.
Brainstorming Toolbox software
can be used to spark off suitable questions or you can generate your own manually.
NB. It is acknowledged that not all of the questions will fit in with every
scenario, but you will need to extract the meaning of each question and develop
your own which is directly relevant to your situation. It is the principle
behind the question that you should apply to your own probortunity, not just
the immediate question asked.
Please try this technique for yourself and you will certainly improve at
coming up with new ideas.
To move to the next technique, click on the green door to continue the green
(Advanced Brainstorming) tour.
Press 'n' to go to the 'N'ext page, press 'b' to go 'B'ack a page