The SCAMPER technique is a brainstorming method that has been implemented in large businesses over the course of time to create creative ideas regarding the development of new products or product ideas. SCAMPER is the acronym for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to other uses, Eliminate, and Rearrange. This application is specifically aimed at overcoming a problem pattern by approaching an obstacle from a different perspective and can also be used to develop new ideas from existing ones through the process of promoting creativity. Since the inception of the technique in 1991 by Alex Osborn and Bob Eberle, SCAMPER has been implemented the world over in uses that require creative thinking to generate fresh ideas in both business and education, mainly focusing first on enhancing creative abilities in children. As with any creative thinking technique, however, the SCAMPER approach has its own strengths and weaknesses, depending on the situation in which it is used.
Advantage: Generating New Ideas
By using the SCAMPER method, an individual or a group may be spurred into generating new ideas by simply evaluating an existing one. This process can result in vast improvements being made to both products that may exist already or product ideas that are still in their infant stages. Where an idea may have encountered a development obstacle, the SCAMPER method may prove to be a systematic approach to overcoming that obstacle, allowing new ideas to be generated and an improved product to come to fruition.
Advantage: Encouraging Creativity in Children
The SCAMPER process is also largely used in regard to encouraging the creative process in the minds of children, influencing the generation of new ideas without placing boundaries on where they come from. Some children have trouble with the development of new ideas when they haven't been provided much of a creative influence, and the SCAMPER method can be used by educators to influence the generation of creativity in children by using the process to promote creative thinking. This process has also been largely proven to promote constructive problem-solving abilities in children by engaging their minds to think around obstacles in order to overcome them.
Disadvantage: Requiring the Right Environment
One weakness the SCAMPER method may be prone to is that the correct environment is needed for the method to be proven effective. For the process to truly influence creativity, both children and employees must be in an environment that truly promotes and encourages new ideas, regardless of whether or not the ideas may be considered useful. If this environment has been proven to be nonexistent, the process will be proven ineffective because of the lack of constructive reinforcement throughout the process.