The definition of SCAMPER: [verb]
to run nimbly and usually playfully about ~ also ~
An acronym for a Creative Thinking Process
When I tackle these word prompts I always start out by looking up the true definition of the word just to be sure that I am using it correctly. Today my first thought when I read the definition was of my year-and-a-half old grand-nephew “D” that I got to see today. With a house full of people “D” was of course confident that he was the center of attention — I think he was!
With an energy that all of the older folks envied, “D” ran back and forth through his parents’ house, scampering, hiding around corners and giggling which always gave away his hiding spot. It was a truly fun day with the inevitable question, “How can we bottle up some of that energy?”
I was also very intrigued when I Googled the word to find that S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is a mnemonic representing an innovative 7-step technique to brainstorm, “think out of the box”, solve problems, and kindle creativity. Imagine — Improve — Invent. [from Wikipedia]
1. Substitute comes up with another topic that is equivalent to the present topic.
2. Combine adds information to the original topic.
3. Adjust identifies ways to construct the topic in a more flexible and adjusted material.
4. Modify creatively changes the topic.
5. Put to other uses identifies the possible scenarios and situations where this topic can be used.
6. Eliminate removes ideas or elements from the topic that are not valuable.
7. Reverse, rearrange evolves a new concept from the original concept.
Step one allows us to think in terms of what we know, something that already is. This can be a hard good, a service, a process, or anything.
Step two makes us think of what “parts” can go in to improving and creating. Can we put other items together to serve a different purpose?
Step three helps us to examine what we could do to use the item in some other way (similar to the butter knife being used as a screwdriver, lol)
Step four begs the questions, how can we make this better (either an existing or a new product)?
Step five examines again the use of this product in a different manner and how that might alter the original product, would its use as something else be better if it were modified?
Step six helps us to narrow our focus and be more concise about the purpose or use of the item or service. What is necessary (parts, material, design) for the intended purpose and how can we streamline it?
Step seven is basically rethinking the project and how it could change if you went through the steps in a different order.
The S.C.A.M.P.E.R. technique forces us to think in abstract, creative ways. Simply put it’s like (figuratively) reaching into our brains and pulling out those tiny, otherwise hidden, ideas and thoughts. It certainly gives us something to wrap our minds around.