SCAMPER is a creative thinking technique that can generate new ideas or improve existing ones. The acronym SCAMPER stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify/Magnify/Minify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse/ Rearrange. These are the seven different techniques that can be used to stimulate creativity and come up with innovative solutions to problems.
Alex Osborn, the creator of SCAMPER, was an advertising executive who believed everyone could be creative if given the right tools and techniques. He developed the concept of brainstorming, a group creativity technique that encourages people to generate as many ideas as possible without criticism or evaluation. Brainstorming is still widely used today and has been adopted by many organizations to solve problems and generate new ideas.
In the early 1950s, Osborn began to develop a new set of creative thinking tools that could be used with brainstorming. These tools were designed to help individuals and groups think more creatively and generate more ideas. One of these tools was SCAMPER, later refined and popularized by Bob Eberle.
SCAMPER is a versatile technique used in various contexts, including product design, marketing, and problem-solving. Each letter in the acronym represents a different technique that can be used to generate new ideas or improve existing ones.
The first technique, Substitute, involves replacing one element of an idea with something else. This could be a material, a process, a feature, or a component. Replacing an element with something else makes it possible to create a completely new idea or improve upon an existing one.
The second technique, Combine, involves taking two or more elements and combining them to create a new idea. This could be two products, two processes, or two features. By combining elements, it is possible to create something new and unique.
The third technique, Adapt, involves modifying an existing idea to fit a new situation. This could involve changing the design, the process, or the target market. Adapting an existing idea makes it possible to create something more relevant or effective in a new context.
The fourth technique, Modify/Magnify/Minify, involves changing an existing idea. This could involve increasing or decreasing an idea’s size, scale, or intensity. By modifying an existing idea, it is possible to create something more powerful or more subtle.
The fifth technique, Put to another use, involves taking an existing idea and using it in a new way. This could involve repurposing a product, a process, or a feature. By putting an idea to another use, creating something more valuable or relevant in a new context is possible.
The sixth technique, Eliminate, involves removing elements from an existing idea. This could involve removing features, processes, or components. Eliminating elements makes it possible to simplify an idea and make it more focused.
The seventh and final technique, Reverse/ Rearrange, involves flipping an existing idea upside down or rearranging its elements. This could involve changing the order of operations, the sequence of events, or the perspective from which an idea is viewed. It is possible to create something completely different and unexpected by reversing or rearranging an idea.
In conclusion, SCAMPER is a powerful and versatile creative thinking technique that can generate new ideas or improve existing ones. Each of the seven techniques in the SCAMPER acronym provides a unique approach to problem-solving and creativity. These techniques allow individuals and groups to unlock their creativity and develop innovative solutions to even the most challenging problems.