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SCAMPER Your Creativity

Taking action is the key to increasing your creativity. But how, you ask?

Creativity is simply connecting two unrelated elements together and SCAMPER is one of the best tools to stimulate this way thinking. Robert Eberle played with Alex Osborn's list (Osborn is the marketing guru who invented "brainstorming") and developed SCAMPER, an acronym for seven active verbs to trigger ideas. Here's how creativity consultant David Straker explains them:

Substitute What can you substitute? What can be used instead? Who else instead? What other ingredients? Other materials? Other processes? Other powers? Other places? Other approaches?

  • Instead of _____ I can _____.
Combine What can you combine or bring together somehow? How about a blend, an alloy, an assortment, an ensemble? Combine units? Combine purposes? Combine appeals? Combine ideas?
  • I can bring together _____ and _____ to _____.
Adapt What can you adapt for use as a solution? What else is like this? What other ideas does this suggest? Does the past offer a parallel? What could I copy? Who could I emulate?
  • I can adapt _____ in this way _____ to _____.
Modify Can you change the item in some way? Change the meaning, colour, motion, sound, smell, form, shape? Other changes?
Also: Magnify: What can you add? More time? Greater frequency? Stronger? Higher? Longer? Thicker? Extra value? Duplicate? Multiply? Exaggerate?
And: "Minify": What can you remove? Make smaller? Condense? Miniaturise? Shorten? Lighten? Omit? Streamline? Split up? Understate?
  • I can modify _____ in this way _____ to _____.
Put to other uses How can you put the thing to different or other uses? New ways to use as is? Other uses if it is modified?
  • I can re-use _____ in this way _____ by _____.
Eliminate What can you eliminate? Remove something? Eliminate waste? Reduce time? Reduce effort? Cut costs?
  • I can eliminate _____ by _____.
Rearrange What can be rearranged in some way? Interchange components? Other pattern? Other layout? Other sequence? Transpose cause and effect? Change pace? Change schedule?
  • I can rearrange _____ like this _____ so that _____.
Keep this list handy to generate ideas or to help big ideas fit back into your budget or parameters.

As they are all verbs, they are about doing, and so get to it!

Robert Gerrish

Robert Gerrish is a coach, author and professional speaker and the founder of Flying Solo (, the Australian online community for solo business owners.

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