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Welcome to the SCAMPER tutorial


This web page is a tutorial on just one part of a free training web site on brainstorming.

How to use the SCAMPER technique

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:

S
Substitute
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.
    Typical questions: 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 or people?
C
Combine
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 synergy?
A
Adapt
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?
M
Modify/distort
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 product/process.
    Typical questions: What happens if I warp or exaggerate a feature or component? What will happen if I modify the process in some way?
P
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 product.

    Typical questions: What other market could I use this product in? Who or what else might be able to use it?
E
Eliminate
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?
R

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.


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