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Technique N°9 - SCAMPER

A 7-letter acronym as the basis of elaborating on ideas!

At eYeka we believe that everyone is creative as soon as one opens his mind and lets ideas flow freely. To help creators from everywhere tackle brand issues, we are providing you with Creative Techniques. Browse them, play with them and add them to your daily creative process to generate your best ideas!

The SCAMPER checklist has been created by Alex Osborn (and Bob Eberle rearranged it) as 9 creative thinking principles to generate ideas. The main concept is to challenge your problem as much as possible.

A new soft drink contest will be used as example,“Invent a new beverage with strong benefit that will delight people who want to make sports time a pleasant moment.” (The drink is targeted at young women & parents from 28 to 45 who do physical activity like running, cycling and swimming. They do sport and exercise not to win or to compete, but to help them live a healthy and balanced lifestyle, to make them feel good about their lives and to live it to the full.)

The question behind the SCAMPER checklist is simple: “Why does it have to be this way?” SCAMPER stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Magnify (Modify), Put to other uses, Eliminate and Rearrange (Reverse). 

Those 7 letters will help you generate ideas! How does it work?

  1. Start with your problem statement
  2. Apply each concept listed with SCAMPER to identify new ideas:
  • Substitute: Could it be substituted with something? Another ingredient, material, place, or approach? What can be used instead?
  • Combine: Could it be combined with something else? What can could it be merged with? Could it be an assortment, a blend, an alloy, etc.? What would happen if the purposes, materials, or units were combined?
  • Adapt: Could some part be adapted? What else is like it? What could be copied, emulated, incorporated or adapted?
For this contest, could the drink be part of sport accessories, inside the dumbbell to be used as weight? Could it be packaged in small portions to be taken regularly as you exercise? 
  • Magnify (or Modify): Could some part be modified or magnified? What can be extended, exaggerated, or added? What if you made it stronger, higher, faster or put it into an extreme environment?
In our example, what if the body became super strong or if the drink was infinite. What would happen in a world where everyone is doing sport, what would be the new standard? What would happen if the people were delighted in doing sports without the pain? 
  • Put to other uses: Could it be put to some other use? What happens if you change the name, color, purpose, form, odor, shape, motion, process, marketing, packaging, etc.?
  • Eliminate: Could some part be eliminated from it? What are the other ways to use it as it is, or modified? What can be made from it?
  • Rearrange (or Reverse): Could it be rearranged in a new format? What would happen if they were reversed, if the components are interchanged or if you applied a new pattern, a new sequence, a new order? What are the opposites or the negatives?
Applied to our example, it leads to new questions. Could we create a drink that may not look like a typical drink? A different shape better designed for sport? Or could the plug be different? What would happen if the athletes had nothing to drink? 

You can apply the SCAMPER technique to a whole or divide your problem in small parts and apply SCAMPER to each of them. And of course all of the questions may not fit in with every scenario but the principle behind the questions should still help you.

 

Did you find new ideas to solve the problem? If yes, congrats! If not move on to the next technique!


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