Ask 7 questions to encourage teams to view current and existing problems through different lenses
About the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Template
What is a S.C.A.M.P.E.R. brainstorm?
S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is a brainstorming method developed by Bob Eberle, an author of creativity books for young people, who introduced it in his 1971 book SCAMPER: Games for Imagination Development. In this clever method, you’ll find 7 different questions to encourage and inspire your team to approach a problem through 7 unique filters. By asking your team to think through a problem using this framework, you’ll unlock fresh, innovative ways to understand the problem you’re trying to solve.
The S.C.A.M.P.E.R. acronym stands for:
Modify (also Magnify and Minify)
Put to another use
These keywords refer to 7 thought-provoking questions to ask during your brainstorm. The goal is to help you dig deep to find innovative solutions to problems your team or company faces. The 7 filters used for this exercise represent the questions necessary for busting through creative blocks to discover new ways to work.
When to use S.C.A.M.P.E.R.
Is your team in a rut? Have you had a lingering problem that can’t seem to be solved? Are you starting a new initiative at work? S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is a great way to get unstuck and move past stagnant, outdated ideas to new, more enlightened ones. Use this technique to help your team explore outside traditional ways of thinking through 7 different perspectives.
S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is considered one of the easiest, most direct brainstorming methods. The simple technique is based on the idea that what’s new is actually based on something that already exists. Any and all responses are welcome, no matter how random or illogical.
Using the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Template
Starting a remote S.C.A.M.P.E.R.-based brainstorm is easy. Just open up your Miro Template and get started with the pre-populated layout. Pro Tip: the way to S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is nonlinear. If you’re moderating your team’s brainstorm, feel free to bounce fluidly between questions.
Step 1: Align your team on the problem you’re trying to solve. This goes without saying for every brainstorm, but it’s important to set clear goals before you start scampering.
Step 2: Begin working through each letter in S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Here is a breakdown of the method, and some questions to help you get your team’s creative juices flowing.
Substitute: The questions to ask here are: What can you substitute or change—whether that’s your product, problem, or process? How can you substitute it for something else entirely?
Combine: When you get to this stage, you should consider how to combine two or more parts of your process or product in the hopes of achieving something new and different. For example: perhaps two of your product features are getting in each other’s way. Can they be combined to create a more efficient customer experience?
Adapt: During the “adapt” phase of your brainstorm, think through what can be added, tweaked, or modified in your product or process to make it better. Sample questions include: How can we adjust the existing product? How can we make the process more flexible?
Modify: Could you modify the product, problem, or process to improve results? Can you change the process to work more efficiently?
Put to another use: Can the product or process be applied to a different use, or used in another way? What benefits would be gained by using the product elsewhere?
Eliminate: What can be removed or simplified? How can you achieve desired results without it? This step is all about purging aspects that do not bring anything to the table.
Reverse: Could your team rearrange or interchange elements to improve results? Is flipping your product or process on its head something your team should consider? Yes.
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