Thinking Creatively with SCAMPER

By David Cox

Part of Creative Thinking For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

SCAMPER is one of the most useful techniques in the creative thinking toolbox, and is widely used in all kinds of creative thinking scenarios from problem-solving to idea generation.

SCAMPER offers you seven ways to think creatively, which you can explore individually or together:

  • Substitute: Put one thing in place of another. Don’t just stick to logical choices; choose unlikely, silly or even outrageous substitutes.

  • Combine: Mix different ingredients together in fresh, inventive ways. Again, don’t be constrained by logic.

  • Adapt: Alter one, several or all of the variables. Change the functions so one aspect has a different role.

  • Modify: Increase or reduce features. Change size, shape or function. Feel free to play with the outcomes.

  • Put to another use: Create different functions for everything. Consider how you can use each variable differently.

  • Eliminate: Reduce, simplify or remove elements. Does it still work? Can you think of different applications as a result of the changes?

  • Reverse: Take the product or concept and stand it on its head. What happens when you consider it from this new perspective?