The SCAMPER Method (Part III)

I continue this week with the SCAMPER method as a way to develop a new idea or to make a breakthrough with a product or service. So, here are the final three letters in the process.

5) “P” is for put to another use – Think about how you can take a current product or idea and put it to a different purpose. Many times, a concept only turns out to be great when applied differently. Here are several key questions to ask:

  • Is it possible to utilize this product elsewhere, maybe in a different industry?
  • Who else can utilize this product?
  • Would this product function differently in a different setting?
  • What else can it be utilized for?
  • Is it possible to recycle the product’s waste to make something new?
  • Could it be used for people with specific disabilities?
  • Is there another problem the product can solve? 
  • Are there applications in other industries or markets?

An example of “P” is how grocery stores’ and restaurants’ food waste usually ends up in the landfill, but Ecoscraps converts food waste into compost. 

6) “E” is to eliminate – Think through what would happen if you eliminated components or elements of your idea or if you minimized, reduced, or simplified aspects of it. By steadily eliminating and trimming, you may be able to change functions. Several key questions are: 

  • How can you simplify or streamline the product?
  • What components can be taken out without changing functions?
  • What would be the outcome if you took away a part?
  • What features, rules, or parts can you eliminate?
  • How can you minimize cost, effort, or time?
  • What is unnecessary or non-essential?
  • Should you break it into different parts?

An example of “E” is when Microsoft invented Windows 8 to do away with the mouse.

7) “R” is for rearranging or reverse – Think about how you could do some rearranging, changing sequence, patterns, or layout. Think about changing the order of the process or other hierarchy. Look at the idea or product differently. Here are several questions to ask:

  • Can you interchange components?
  • Can you change patterns or layout?
  • Can you modify the steps or process?
  • What if you reversed the process or roles?
  • What if you engaged in the exact opposite of what you originally intended?
  • How could you accomplish the opposite?

Examples of “R” are Lyft and Uber. In the past, a person had to look for a taxi. With Lyft and Uber, you order a ride using an app.

The SCAMPER method is an excellent thought process to find new and better ways for an idea or product to be successful. The times we have used the technique with clients, it has provided new insights into ways their ideas could be used that they had not considered before.