Posted by: magnussonllc | August 25, 2009

Creativity Tools: SCAMPER

SCAMPER is a technique you can use to help spark creativity and overcome challenges.  SCAMPER is a general-purpose checklist with idea-spurring prompts.  It is both easy to use and surprisingly powerful. SCAMPER is based on the notion that everything new is a modification of something that already exists. When imagination is blocked, take an existing item and manipulate it into a new idea. Remember, manipulation is a close relative to creativity.

Each letter in the acronym represents a different way to play with the characteristics of a challenge in hopes of triggering new ideas:

Scamper To use the SCAMPER technique, first state the problem you’d like to solve or the idea you’d like to develop. It can be anything: a challenge in your personal life, business issue, a new product, a service or process you want to improve, etc.  After pinpointing the challenge, begin asking questions using the SCAMPER checklist as a guide. This technique is special because for any preliminary solution, certain provocative questions are asked sequentially. These questions generally lead to the wide modification of the preliminary solution. Your recorded ideas may be combined or investigated further as necessary.  Remember, these may not be sensible ideas (although they could be) and may simply suggest ways to move forward.


Several things happen when you search out alternative ideas:

1. An alternative idea may be your resolution.

2. An alternative idea could prove to be better starting point.

3. An alternative idea just may be a breakthrough idea even though it has nothing to do with the problem at hand.


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