Boost creative thinking whilst working remotely – Part 3 SCAMPER

Remote working has hindered creative thinking. It is hard to come up with new ideas and solutions when glued to a screen – with often the loudest team members taking over.

However, those organisations which can reignite creativity and innovation will soon have a competitive advantage.

So what can you do to get the creativity back on the map? There are a number of creative thinking techniques and this series shares some of our most popular ones that are effective via MS Teams or Zoom. Up next – SCAMPER.

What is it?

The SCAMPER technique is based very simply on the idea that what is new is actually a modification of existing old things around us. A simple principle really… Start with something that is already out there and identify ways to improve it.

During the need for critical thinking, in particular when working as a team, forcing people to think in a specific flow can help emerging innovative ideas that won’t be possible to reach using a regular thinking flow.

The SCAMPER technique aims to provide seven different thinking approaches to find innovative ideas and solutions. Unlike Disney’s creative thinking technique which follows a predescribed sequence, there is no sequential flow to follow while moving from each of the seven thinking techniques.

SCAMPER stands for:

  1. Substitute
  2. Combine
  3. Adapt
  4. Modify
  5. Put to another use
  6. Eliminate
  7. Reverse

The process

  1. Take an existing product or service. This could be one that you want to improve, one where there are issues or challenges, or one that could be a good starting point for future development. Below a few questions to get it started.
  2. Now you can either run this all together and move through the 7 brainstorming categories as a team – using an interactive whiteboard is an effective way to capture ideas and make sure that everyone contributes. Or for larger groups, you can set up breakout rooms and move through SCAMPER with people adding to and building on the ideas generated by the previous group.
  3. Review and fine tune. Look at the answers that you came up with. Which ones stand out as possible solutions? What are the benefits? If any of your ideas seem viable, then you can explore them further.

Substitute

  • What can you substitute or swap to improve the product/service?
  • What other product or process could you use?

Combine

  • What would happen if you combine this product/service with another?
  • Can you combine to create something new?

Adapt

  • How could you adapt or readjust this product/service to serve another purpose or use?
  • In what other context could you use your product/service?

Modify

  • How could you change the shape, look, or feel of your product/service?
  • What could you strengthen or highlight to create more value?

Put to Another Use

  • Can you use this product/service somewhere else, perhaps in another industry?
  • Who else could use this product?

Eliminate

  • What features, parts, or rules could you eliminate?
  • How could you make it smaller, faster, lighter, or more fun?

Reverse

  • What would happen if you reversed this process or sequenced things differently?
  • What if you try to do the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do now?

Creative thinking is an essential part of any organisation’s ideas generation process. If you are finding that the creativity is running dry, give this approach a go. We would be happy to help you get started and to drive innovation into your organisation. Contact EstherM@NineFeetTall.com for more information.

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