Brainstorm More Effectively Using the SCAMPER Method

By Mark Micheli

November 30, 2012

How do you and your team continue brainstorming when you’ve run out of ideas? One of the biggest obstacles with any idea generating session is finding ways to think outside the box—especially when your idea generating energy starts to peter out. When a brainstorming session hits a wall, dig deeper using the SCAMPER Method.

SCAMPER stands for:

This mnemonic device is designed to help you think about ideas and business processes in new, sometimes counterintuitive ways. Use SCAMPER by asking critical questions about new ideas or existing business methods using each of the seven categories above.  

For instance, if you’re seeking to improve customer service, you’d use the “R” for reverse, asking “How can we reduce or make customer satisfaction worse?” Once you’ve come up with a list of ways you can achieve the opposite of your goal, flip the negative ideas to positive ones. You’ll have a list of new ideas you would have missed otherwise. Look at the new list and assess if any of the ideas are viable starting points worth exploring further.

Use all seven categories to come up with a host of new ideas. Some example questions:

Substitute:

Combine:

Adapt:

Modify:

Put to Another Use:

Eliminate:

Reverse:

SCAMPER is a good way to inject fun, and needed energy, into a brainstorming session. Working through the categories, or cherry picking the ones you feel are most useful, should help you and your team generate alternative ideas and stimulate a stream of new thinking.

What methods or formats have you used when brainstorming?  

(Image via VLADGRIN/Shutterstock.com)


By Mark Micheli

November 30, 2012

http://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2012/11/brainstorm-more-effectively-using-scamper-method/59786/