30-60 minutes or any other time
Paper or computer to take notes
What is this tool and what is its purpose and benefit?
SCAMPER is an ideation tool for thinking about how different aspects of a service or a product could be changed into something new or improved. The 7 modification actions are: substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to another use, eliminate and reverse, which form the word SCAMPER. The tool allows one to see aspects from new perspectives and finding unusual ideas and solutions. It can help one to rethink services and discover something completely new.
Steps how to use this tool in practice
The same steps apply when working individually, in pairs or in a group.
Take the research findings and existing solutions for the problem. The existing solutions can be yours or someone else’s.
Start thinking about what you could do to the existing solution(s) to modify and improve it using the SCAMPER dimensions:
Substitute – what can you substitute? Is there anything you can substitute or change in the service? Is it something completely different or unusual in that context? How can it be done?
Combine – what can you combine? Can a service of parts or it be combined into one or with something completely different and external or with products? How would you do it and why, what is the benefit?
Adapt – what can you adapt? What can/do you need to adapt or tweak to improve the service? For example, can something be adapted to different types of customers?
Modify – what can you modify (or magnify or minimise)? What can be modified to better adapt the service to markets or improve its usability?
Put to another use – what can you put to another use? How can your service or parts of it be used for another purpose? Can a product maybe be used as part of a service?
Eliminate – what can you eliminate? Is something unnecessary or can something be simplified? What (parts of the service) can you eliminate, remove or simplify?
Reverse – what can you reverse? Can a service process or parts of it be reversed or rearranged? Can the roles of the service and product be reserved?
Look at all of the ideas generated and choose the most promising ones for evaluation at the next phase.
Tips and hints for using this tool
SCAMPER was proposed by Alex F. Osborn and 1953 and further developed by Bob Eberle in 1971.
SCAMPER can also be used when developing tested prototypes further into more advanced prototype versions.
Other tools of this phase
Soliciting the expertise of the crowd.
A visual map of existing solutions to the identified problem.
A visual idea generation diagram.
Generating ideas quietly and getting inspired by others.