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Lateral Thinking Tool- SCAMPER

Admin 16-June-2019

What is Lateral thinking?

It’s a way of solving problems using an indirect and creative approach, typically through viewing the problem in a new and different angle.

There are many tools that compliment Lateral thinking, SCAMPER is one of them.  It’s a very  powerful tool that can help generate out of the box ideas quickly. This technique uses a set of directed questions to come up with new ideas. It forces yourself to answer questions which you would not normally ask!

Brain-map view

It is an acronym that stands for:

S-  Substitute

C-Combine

A-Adapt

M-Modify

P- Put to other purpose

E-Eliminate

R- Reverse/Rearrange

Let’s understand these terms in little detail:

S  (Substitute)

Think about substituting part of your product/process for something else. By looking for something to substitute you can often come up with new ideas.

Typical questions:

What can I substitute to make an improvement?  How can I substitute the place, time, materials or people to achieve better?

C-(Combine)

Think about combining two or more parts of your probortunity to achieve a different product/process or to enhance synergy.

Typical questions:

What materials, features, processes, people, products or components can I combine? Where can I build synergy?

A-(Adapt)

Think about which parts of the product/process could be adapted to remove the probortunity or think how you could change the nature of the product/process.

Typical questions:

What part of the product could I change? And in exchange for what? What if I were to change the characteristics of a component?

M-(Modify)

Think about changing part or all of the current situation, or to distort it in an unusual way. By forcing yourself to come up with new ways of working, you are often prompted into an alternative product/process.

Typical questions:

What happens if I warp or exaggerate a feature or component? What will happen if I modify the process in some way?

P-(Put to other use)

Think of how you might be able to put your current solution/ product/process to other purposes, or think of what you could reuse from somewhere else in order to solve your own probortunity. You might think of another way of solving your own probortunity or finding another market for your product.

Typical questions: What other purpose could I use this product for?  Can we find a different market to promote  our product?

E-(Eliminate)

Think of what might happen if you eliminated various parts of the product/process/probortunity and consider what you might do in that situation. This often leads you to consider different ways of tackling the probortunity.

Typical questions:

What would happen if I removed a component or part of it? How else would I achieve the solution without the normal way of doing it?

R- (Reverse/Rearrange)

Think of what you would do if part of your probortunity/product/process worked in reverse or done in a different order. What would you do if you had to do it in reverse? You can use this to see your probortunity from different angles and come up with new ideas.

Typical questions: What if I did it the other way round? What if I reverse the order it is done or the way it is used? How would I achieve the opposite effect?

Hope you’ll find this useful!

Next time when you’re running ideation event, try using this tool and see if you get somewhere.

Happy reading!

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