Templates Updated on: 25 November 2020

The SCAMPER technique for brainstorming & creativity

SCAMPER technique template

Highlights

How does your brain come up with something if you’ve never seen it before? Well, for the complex neuroscience explanation behind imagination watch this TED Talk, but for a more applicable approach, we want to introduce you to the SCAMPER technique for ideation.

What is the SCAMPER technique?

Created by author Bob Earle in the 1970’s, SCAMPER is a brainstorming technique that expands your lateral thinking through seven creative prompts. SCAMPER is an acronym that stands for:

  • Substitute
  • Combine
  • Adapt
  • Modify
  • Put to another use
  • Eliminate
  • Reverse

These seven prompts will help boost your creativity and push your thinking in new directions when it comes to developing new products or improving current ones. Let’s take a closer look at how to use the SCAMPER method technique in a virtual setting with Conceptboard.

If you’d like to explore additional brainstorming techniques, we’ve rounded up 15 brainstorming techniques and templates you can use collaboratively with your team.

How to use the SCAMPER technique

The best way to follow the SCAMPER technique is by going through each subsection and asking your team a range of prompting questions. After that, they can then add their answers on sticky notes on the virtual whiteboard. The questions are designed to really think in creative ways, so don’t be worried if the answers are ridiculous, or hard to define.

We’ve included a list of some example questions, but it’s by no means exhaustive. Let’s look at some of the questions you could ask for each letter of SCAMPER.

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Brainstorm seamlessly with your remote team with Conceptboard’s collaborative online whiteboard

SCAMPER technique questions

Substitute

  • What could you substitute or swap to improve the product?
  • What processes or rules could you substitute?
  • Can you use this product elsewhere, or as a substitute for something else?

Combine

  • Is there another product or service you could combine this with to create a new offering?
  • Are there any companies you could collaborate with?
  • How could you combine talent and resources to create a new version of this product?

Adapt

  • How could you adapt or readjust this product to serve another purpose?
  • Is there a new trend you could embrace and adapt to?
  • What other context could you put your product into?

Modify

  • What could you add to modify this product?
  • Are there elements of the marketing message could you modify?
  • What element of this product could you change to be able to modify the pricing?

Put to Another Use

  • Is this product able to be used elsewhere? Perhaps in another industry?
  • Is there another user base you could sell to?
  • Is there a way to put this product into the circular economy to reduce its waste?

Eliminate

  • What features, parts, or rules could you eliminate?
  • How could you make it smaller, faster, lighter, or less packaging?
  • What would happen if you removed something from this product?

Reverse

  • What if you try to do the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do now?
  • What components could you reorder?
  • How could you re-organize elements such as the website, shopping or sign up process?

Using the SCAMPER template

We’ve created a simple SCAMPER template that you can use for your virtual brainstorming session.

Simply click on the link below and invite your team to join the board. Firstly, add the problem or product you are working on in the centre of the diagram.

Then, move through each section, adding ideas onto sticky notes under each subheading. After that, review the ideas, vote on your favorites and create a short list of viable options.

You could then add a Priority Matrix template or an Affinity Diagram to the board to help with refining and grouping the ideas.

Best of all, all your notes and ideas are saved on the board forever so you can refer back to them at any time.

We love exploring creative ways to brainstorm. Want more? Check out 6 more unique brainstorming methods on our blog.

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