Image via VLADGRIN/Shutterstock.com

Brainstorm More Effectively Using the SCAMPER Method

A simple tool designed to stimulate new thinking in counterintuitive ways.

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:

  • Substitute
  • Combine
  • Adapt
  • Modify
  • Put to another use
  • Eliminate
  • Reverse

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:

  • What resources can be swamped to improve this business process?
  • What alternate methods are there for doing this function?
  • Where or how else could this process be applied?

Combine:

  • Can this process be combined with another to create something new?
  • How could we combine with another team or talent stream to come up with a new way of doing this?
  • What would happen if you combined the objective of this function with the objective of an altogether different function or process?

Adapt:

  • How could this product or process be adapted to accomplish another function?
  • How would a completely new team execute this function? What would make their transition difficult?
  • What is this process/product similar to?

Modify:

  • What could you add/subtract to change the outcome of this function?
  • What can be promoted or emphasized to change outcomes?
  • What could you do to change the way this product is viewed—visually or emotionally?

Put to Another Use:

  • Where else can this product/process be used?
  • What other offices or agencies can use this tool?
  • How would it be applied by a local government?

Eliminate:

  • What could be eliminated to streamline this process?
  • What policies could be eliminated to achieve the result or mission of this function faster?
  • What would happen if we stopped doing this function altogether?

Reverse:

  • What would happen if our goal for this product/process was achieved?
  • How would this process look if you planned it all out backward—starting with the end in mind?
  • How could you change the order in which this process occurs or is executed?

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)

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.