What is SCAMPER, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for innovation teams and organizations?
Definition of SCAMPER
SCAMPER is an acronym that is used to help prompt creative ideas for improving existing products or services or creating new innovations. The letters in SCAMPER stand for substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to another use, eliminate, and reverse. Each letter is associated with a string of questions that can be asked about existing products to discover methods of improvement or entirely new opportunities.
Description of SCAMPER
As an innovation model and process tool, SCAMPER can be used to generate ideas for improving existing offerings or business processes, or innovating completely new products and services. Whatever its purpose, your innovation team should brainstorm a list of as many answers to the questions as possible and determine, which, if any of them are a feasible solution that can be used either to refine existing products or services or fabricate new ones. The best ideas should then be further developed.
In order to properly utilize the SCAMPER strategy, your innovation team should consider the following ideas when thinking about how to improve current products or services or create new ones.
Substitute – Decide if there are different materials or resources that can be used as a replacement when making the product, if the current product be completely substituted by something else, if there are any instructions or rules for using the product that can be replaced or changed, what other products or services could be used instead of the one offered by the organization and what would happen to the product if the attitudes held by consumers toward the product were to change.
Combine – Determine if the product can be combined with another, what resources could be added to the product, what current talent should be put together to develop a different perspective on the product or service.
Adapt – Decide if the product can be adjusted to serve a different function, if there are other products or services on the market that are similar to what is being offered, what would happen if the product was used in another set of circumstances, or how common product or services can be modified.
Modify – Establish if there are any modifications that can be made regarding the physical appearance of current products or services, if there are any features that could be added to improve the function of the product or features that should be more heavily emphasized or reinforced.
Put to Another Use – Verify if there are other industries or markets in which the product would obtain a better reception or if there are other clients who would be interested in the product, if the product would function better or worse in a different context or if the materials being used to create current products or services could be made into something different.
Eliminate – Determine what features of current products or services can be removed or phased out, what can be deemphasized, how the product can be more efficient, smaller, easier to transport or use, and what could potentially take the place of the product if it did not exist.
Reverse – Consider what would happen if the organization changed the roles of two individuals on the innovation team, if any of the features of the product could be reordered or if the team tried a completely opposite strategy to what is normally done when developing a product or service.
Tools & Templates
SCAMPER is typically thought to be an independent tool that supports innovation and product development and planning. To generate ideas related to the SCAMPER framework, it’s useful to provide the team with the definitions of SCAMPER and collect ideas using brainstorming tools or software.
upBOARD's Online SCAMPER Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional SCAMPER innovation techniques, upBOARD’s online SCAMPER collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s library of other innovation management online best practice tools and templates, including:
Agile Innovation Process, Business Case Development, Business Model Canvas, Concept Development, Concept Screening, Concept Testing, Customer Empathy Map, Customer Problem Statements, Design Thinking, Innovation Funnel Management Process, Innovation Horizons Model, Innovation Roadmap, Jobs to be Done, Lean Startup, Listening Hats, Open Innovation Process, Painstorming, Rapid Prototyping, SCAMPER, S-Curve Mapping, Stage Gate Process, Technology Life Cycle, Technology Scouting, and Teece’s Win-Lose Innovation Model.