Creating new ideas and innovation with SCAMPER

Posted on November 20, 2011. Filed under: innovation | Tags: , |

The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas. ~Linus Pauling

I took that straight from the article by John Freisinger Brainstorming with SCAMPER, in the Oct/Nov edition of Innovation.

One way to innovate is to change something that already exists, maybe with a radical change and maybe with a subtle change.  SCAMPER is a mnemonic for a series of questions to help explore a number of possible changes to any existing product, service, problem, methodology or process.

It stands for:

(S)ubstitute

(C)ombine

(A)dapt

(M)aximize or Minimize

(P)ut to other use

(E)liminate

(R)earrange or Reverse

John uses the example of a product to demonstrate the kinds of questions one might ask.

Substitute – are there components of our product that can be substituted or replaced with something else?

Combine – Can our product be combined with other products to create a new product?

Adapt – Are there ideas from other industries that we can borrow and apply?

Maximize or minimize – Are there components that can be enlarged or shrunken?

Put to other uses – Are there completely different uses for the product?

Eliminate – Are there components and features that can be eliminated?

Have you used this system?  How has it worked for you?  Can you envision adding these questions to future “idea generating” discussions?  I’m already planning to do a little more research on SCAMPER questions as a way to re-examine services.  Let me know if you’ve got some good ideas.  Make that any ideas – from the many will come the good!

Need writing or research assistance?  Perhaps I can help!

Nora K. Stoecker, NKS Info Services

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