• “A check-list of idea spurring questions” (Michalko).
  • To discover creative ideas for developing new products or services, and for improving current ones.


SCAMPER is a creative technique that asks questions about existing products and services using the letters as different prompts.

S = Substitute
C = Combine
A = Adapt
M = Modify/Magnify
P = Put to other uses
E = Eliminate/minify
R = Reverse/Rearrange?

Step 1: Identify your challenge (and frame some opportunities).
Step 2: Ask some SCAMPER questions about each step of the challenge/opportunity.

What can be substituted? Who else? What else?
Can the rules be changed?
Other ingredient? Other material?

Other process or procedure?
Other power?
Other place? Other approach?
What else instead? What other part instead of this?

What ideas can be combined? Can we combine purposes?
How about an assortment?
How about a blend, an alloy, an ensemble? Combine units?

What other article could be merged with this?
How could we package a combination? What can be combined to multiply possible uses?

What materials could we combine?

What else is like this?
What other idea does this suggest? Does the past offer a parallel?
What could I copy?
Whom could I emulate?
What idea could I incorporate?
What other process could be adapted? What ideas outside my field can I incorporate?

How can this be altered for the better? What can be modified?
Is there a new twist?
Change meaning, colour, motion, sound, odour, form, shape?

Change name?
What other for could this take?

What if this were smaller?
What should I omit?
Should I divide it? Split it up? Separate it into different parts?
Streamline? Make miniature? Condense? Compact?
Can the rules be eliminated?

What other arrangements might be better? Interchange components?
Other pattern?
Transpose cause and effect?

Change pace? Change schedule? Other sequence?

Change the order?


  • Try and generate as many ideas as you can.
  • Move around the SCAMPER list – use more than one letter.

[1] Michalko, Michael. Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Business Creativity. New York: Ten Speed, 1991. Print.