SCAMPER Your Way to Creativity

SCAMPER is an acronym for a list of words that can help you and your students think differently about a problem area and enhance creativity.

What or who can be used instead? What other ingredients, place, or time? Other material? Other Process? Other power? Other place? Other approach? Other sounds?
What materials, features, processes, people, products, or components can be combined?
Is there anything that can be changed? What else is like this? What could be copied?
Modify, Magnify, or Minify
Can you change the meaning, color, motion, sound, smell, form, or shape? Can you distort it?
Put to Other Uses
Are there new ways to use or reuse it? Is there another market?
Can you reduce time, effort, or cost? Can you remove part of it?
Can you interchange components or patterns? Can you change the pace or schedule? Can it be reversed?

Here are a few possible ways to use SCAMPER.

  1. Read a simple story. What elements of SCAMPER could be used to rewrite the story? If you get stuck on a writing assignment, will the ideas from SCAMPER help you to keep going?
  2. Create your own invention. Take any common object and think about how it might be changed or improved upon. Think about the history of a common invention, such as the telephone. Go back to the earliest phone you can find and see how the elements of SCAMPER were used to improve each generation of the communication device.
  3. Take a current social or political problem and discuss how elements of SCAMPER might be applied to come up with possible solutions.
  4. Use SCAMPER to analyze a website or a brochure. Can you find ways that the website or brochure might be improved?
  5. Take any common object—a penny, a shoe, a table. How can you apply the elements of SCAMPER to come up with a new and creative use of the object?

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