The SCAMPER Technique - what is it?

by Duncan

Creativity, even for the most creative people, can be elusive. Coming up with new business ideas, new ideas for projects, and innovative ways to solve problems is hard work. It's easier to just do the same old things you've always done or the same old things everyone else is doing. Unfortunately, our competitive society requires that we innovate every once in a while to succeed.

Innovation requires us to look deep inside our selves, explore new ideas, think about what the world needs, and willfully seek out new solutions. If you're struggling to come up with creative and innovative ideas, you might be wondering what sort of techniques you could try out to make your situation easier. One strategy you might try out is the SCAMPER Technique. This technique was created by Bob Eberle in the 1970s for teachers who wanted to help their students become more creative problem-solvers. This technique is still used today in the classroom and business world, and many innovative thinkers swear by it. Here's what you should know about the SCAMPER Technique: You might be wondering - what does "S.C.A.M.P.E.R." stand for? Well, each of its letters represents one strategy you can use to come up with a new, creative idea or solution to a problem. Here's what SCAMPER stands for, and how you can use each of the SCAMPER tactics:

What SCAMPER technique?

S – Substitute: Try out different things and processes; replace current variables with new variables until you find a substitution that works or helps you discover a solution.
C – Combine: Merge the tools you already have to create something new. Try out similar, related activities at the same time to see if doing so brings about novel ideas.
A – Adapt: Change what you're doing or how you're using something; look at what other people are doing and figure out what you need to alter to stay ahead of the curve.
M – Modify: If you're working with something tangible, change up the way it looks and feels or what it does. If you're working with something intangible, change the way you think about it or how you approach it.
P – Put to other uses: Do something different with what you already have. If it's a product, use it in a different way. If you have ideas, try to apply them to different, related problems.
E – Eliminate: Rule out ideas you've come up with that you know don't work. Take apart something you're making and remove its inessential features.
R – Reverse: Try out a different process or switch up the order of the steps in the current process you're using. Think about how things can be organized in a different way; do the opposite of what you're doing now.

If you try out all of the steps in the SCAMPER technique, it's pretty certain that you'll come up with a few
innovative new ideas and ways to approach whatever problem you're trying to solve. So, consider the steps above, and embrace your inner creativity!

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