SCAMPER Technique Training For Brainstorming – Free List Of “new Think” Tools

The SCAMPER technique is a versatile tool for stimulating creative thinking and problem-solving. It encourages you to explore various ways of improving or innovating a product, process, or problem (referred to here as a “probortunity”). Here’s a detailed guide with examples for each section of SCAMPER.

S.C.A.M.P.E.R. stands for

SSubstituteThink about replacing parts of your product or process with something else to discover new ways to achieve the same end.
CCombineConsider combining elements of your product or process with others to enhance their functionality or to create something new.
AAdaptModify elements of your product or process to serve different purposes or to improve their efficiency or effectiveness.
MModifyChange the structure, appearance, or elements of your product or process to create something novel.
PPut to Other PurposesThink about how your product or process could be used in a different context or for a different purpose.
EEliminateConsider removing elements of your product or process to simplify it or to create a different product.
RReverse/RearrangeLook at what might happen if you reverse the order of operations or rearrange components of your product or process.

Typical questions to ask for each letter of the SCAMPER technique:

S – Substitute:

  1. What can be replaced in the current situation or product?
  2. Can we use other ingredients or materials?
  3. What other process or procedure can be used?
  4. Can we change its color, shape, or sound?
  5. Who else can use this, or what else can it be used for?

C – Combine:

  1. What ideas or elements can be combined?
  2. Can we merge this with another object or concept?
  3. How might a blend of different features benefit us?
  4. Can we combine purposes or objectives?
  5. What unlikely combinations could spur innovation?

A – Adapt:

  1. What else is like this?
  2. Can we copy or borrow from other industries or domains?
  3. What ideas could we incorporate from past solutions?
  4. How can we modify or alter this for a different market?
  5. What can we learn from nature or other environments?

M – Modify:

  1. How can we change the shape, look, or feel of it?
  2. What can be magnified or made smaller?
  3. Can we add extra features or components?
  4. What can be strengthened to make it more robust?
  5. Can we exaggerate or overstate any aspect for impact?

P – Put to Another Use:

  1. What completely different use can we have for this?
  2. Can this be used by people in other fields?
  3. How would a child or elderly person use this?
  4. How can this be repurposed in an emergency?
  5. What other industry or area could benefit from this?

E – Eliminate:

  1. What can be removed without altering its function?
  2. Can we simplify the product or process?
  3. What features or components are unnecessary?
  4. Can we split it into different parts?
  5. What happens if we remove rules or constraints?

R – Reverse/Rearrange:

  1. What if we did the opposite of what we’re doing now?
  2. Can we rearrange the process or layout?
  3. What if the roles were reversed?
  4. Can we change the order of operations?
  5. What would happen if we turned it inside out or upside down?

Examples of using the SCAMPER brainstorming technique

1. Substitute (S)

  • Replace Components: In a car, substitute a standard internal combustion engine with an electric motor. “What if we replace gasoline with electric power?”
  • Change Materials: In fashion design, use recycled fabrics instead of new textiles. “Can I create a new line using only recycled materials?”
  • Alternative Methods: In education, substitute traditional lectures with interactive online modules. “What if classroom lectures are replaced with interactive e-learning sessions?”

2. Combine (C)

  • Merge Features: In technology, combine a smartphone with a high-quality camera. “How can I integrate professional camera features into a smartphone?”
  • Blend Concepts: In a restaurant, combine cuisines to create fusion dishes. “What unique dishes can emerge from combining Italian and Japanese cuisines?”
  • Unify Processes: In manufacturing, combine assembly line processes to increase efficiency. “Can we merge certain production stages for faster output?”

3. Adapt (A)

  • Modify for New Use: Adapting a shipping container for affordable housing. “How can we repurpose shipping containers into comfortable, low-cost homes?”
  • Borrow Ideas: Adapting the drive-through concept from fast food to pharmacies. “What if pharmacies offer a drive-through service for prescription pick-ups?”
  • Change for Different Market: Adapting children’s toys for educational purposes. “Can we modify popular toys to also serve as educational tools?”

4. Modify/Magnify (M)

  • Enhance Features: In a smartphone, increase battery life significantly. “What if we develop a battery that lasts for a week on a single charge?”
  • Exaggerate for Effect: In marketing, use hyperbolic claims to grab attention. “How can we magnify the benefits of our product in advertising for more impact?”
  • Alter Scale: In architecture, design miniature models of famous buildings for a theme park. “What if we create a miniature world featuring iconic global landmarks?”

5. Put to Other Purposes (P)

  • Repurpose for Different Users: Using gaming consoles for educational purposes. “How can we utilize gaming consoles as educational tools for children?”
  • Different Applications: Using industrial cleaning products in household settings. “Can we adapt our industrial-grade cleaners for safe home use?”
  • Cross-Industry Usage: Using automotive assembly techniques in aerospace manufacturing. “What automotive manufacturing practices can we apply in building aircraft?”

6. Eliminate (E)

  • Remove Parts: In product design, eliminate unnecessary features from a gadget to simplify usage. “What if we remove the least used features to simplify our product?”
  • Reduce Process Steps: In customer service, cut down steps in the complaint resolution process. “How can we streamline our complaint handling for faster resolution?”
  • Minimize Resources: In construction, use fewer materials without compromising safety. “Can we reduce material use while maintaining structural integrity?”

7. Reverse/Rearrange (R)

  • Reverse Order: In a retail setting, reverse the shopping process by allowing customers to try products at home before buying. “What if shopping starts with home trials rather than in-store selection?”
  • Opposite Function: In marketing, create a campaign that focuses on the product’s flaws humorously to highlight its strengths. “How can we use reverse psychology in our advertising?”
  • Rearrange Components: In automotive design, place the engine at the rear rather than the front. “What if the engine’s placement is reversed for a different driving experience?”

Using SCAMPER involves not just asking these questions, but also deeply pondering and experimenting with the answers. It’s a proactive approach to creative thinking that can lead to significant breakthroughs in various fields. By exploring these diverse examples, you can see how the SCAMPER technique’s flexibility and breadth can inspire innovation across various fields and contexts.

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