How to Use SCAMPER to Improve Problem Solving
Creativity,  How To,  Problem Solving

How to Use SCAMPER to Improve Problem Solving

When faced with a problem, it’s easy to feel stuck and overwhelmed.

Sometimes, we need a fresh perspective to unlock our creativity and find innovative solutions.

This is where the SCAMPER technique comes in handy.

Think of it as your trusty toolbox filled with different tools to approach problem-solving from different angles.

By using SCAMPER, you can spark new ideas, uncover hidden possibilities, and unleash your problem-solving superpowers!

Let’s dive into the crystal clear sea of how to use SCAMPER to improve Problem Solving.

Revolutionizing Problem Solving with the SCAMPER Technique

Alright, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how SCAMPER rocks the problem-solving boat.

Personally, I see it as my trusty sidekick in the quest for solutions – no capes, just clever thinking.

So, here’s the lowdown from my perspective: SCAMPER isn’t about being some genius with an elaborate plan.

It’s more like having a set of ninja tools for your brain when you’re faced with a problem that’s doing the cha-cha on your nerves.

When I’ve got a head-scratcher, SCAMPER is my secret sauce.

Substitute kicks in when I ask, “What if we swapped this out?”

Combine gets me thinking about mash-ups, like a DJ mixing beats.


Oh, that’s the cool cousin suggesting, “Hey, add something new to the party.”


It’s the zoom lens for problem-solving.


Think of it as the rebel, asking, “Can this thing moonlight somewhere else?”

Eliminate/Minimize is all about shedding dead weight – less baggage, less hassle.

And Rearrange/Reverse?

Picture turning a puzzle piece and suddenly the whole picture makes sense. It’s not rocket science; it’s problem-solving with a dash of flair.

In my world, SCAMPER is like my brainstorming superhero, swooping in when things get tangled.

It’s not about jargon or boardroom acrobatics; it’s about embracing the messiness of problem-solving and turning it into a creative adventure.

So, next time you’re in a sticky situation, let SCAMPER be your silent ally.

No capes, just creative ninja moves to kick problems to the curb. Trust me, it’s problem-solving without the drama and goes as follows:

  1. Substitute: Rethink Traditional Solutions

    • Step: Substitute habitual problem-solving approaches with fresh perspectives.
    • Insight: Replace conventional brainstorming sessions with role-playing or scenario-based simulations to encourage creative thinking.
  2. Combine: Integrate Diverse Perspectives

    • Step: Combine diverse viewpoints for comprehensive problem analysis.
    • Insight: Create cross-functional teams, merging skills and insights from various departments to approach problems from multiple angles.
  3. Adapt: Tailor Solutions to Unique Challenges

    • Step: Adapt existing solutions to fit the specific nuances of each problem.
    • Insight: Customize templates or processes to align with the unique aspects of a particular challenge, ensuring a more tailored response.
  4. Modify: Transform Constraints into Opportunities

    • Step: Modify constraints to unlock innovative solutions.
    • Insight: Embrace limited resources or tight deadlines as catalysts for creativity, pushing teams to find unconventional solutions.
  5. Put to Another Use: Repurpose Existing Resources

    • Step: Put existing resources to new and unexpected uses.
    • Insight: Encourage teams to explore how current tools or talents can be repurposed to address different problems, fostering resourcefulness.
  6. Eliminate: Trim Unnecessary Steps

    • Step: Eliminate unnecessary steps that hinder efficient problem-solving.
    • Insight: Implement a “Sprint Day” where teams focus solely on crucial aspects of a problem, eliminating non-essential tasks and boosting productivity.
  7. Reverse: Flip Problem Statements

    • Step: Reverse problem statements to redefine challenges.
    • Insight: Instead of asking, “How can we increase sales?” pose the question, “How can we decrease barriers to purchase?” for a fresh perspective.

Bonus Point – Connect: Integrate Problem Solving with Continuous Improvement

  • Step: Connect problem-solving initiatives with continuous improvement efforts.
  • Insight: Establish a feedback loop that incorporates lessons learned from problem-solving into ongoing processes, fostering a culture of continuous learning.

Applying the SCAMPER technique to problem-solving introduces a dynamic approach, encouraging teams to think innovatively and uncover inventive solutions to challenges.

What is SCAMPER?

Before we dive into the depths of SCAMPER, let’s first understand what it’s all about. SCAMPER is an acronym that stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Other uses, Eliminate, and Reverse. Developed by Bob Eberle, this technique provides a structured approach to problem-solving by asking specific questions that stimulate your creative thinking.

Imagine your brain as a curious adventurer exploring a vast jungle of ideas. With SCAMPER, you’re equipped with different tools to carve your way through the thick foliage, revealing new paths and hidden treasures.

Understanding the concept and origins of SCAMPER

SCAMPER originated from the idea that creativity is not a mysterious gift possessed by a select few, but rather a skill that can be nurtured and developed. Just like a muscle, your creativity can be strengthened through practice and the right mindset.

Think of SCAMPER as a compass that guides your creative expedition. Each letter represents a different direction to explore, offering unique insights and perspectives that you might not have considered otherwise.

Let’s delve deeper into the concept of SCAMPER. The first letter, “S,” stands for Substitute. This prompts you to think about replacing certain elements or components of your problem with something else. By doing so, you can explore alternative solutions and challenge the status quo.

The next letter, “C,” stands for Combine. This encourages you to merge different ideas, concepts, or elements to create something new and innovative. By combining seemingly unrelated concepts, you can unlock hidden synergies and generate fresh perspectives.

The third letter, “A,” stands for Adapt. This prompts you to consider how you can modify or adjust existing ideas or solutions to fit the current problem. Adapting allows you to repurpose existing knowledge and apply it in unique ways.

The fourth letter, “M,” stands for Modify. This prompts you to make changes or alterations to existing elements of your problem. By modifying certain aspects, you can uncover new possibilities and transform ordinary solutions into extraordinary ones.

The fifth letter, “P,” stands for Put to other uses. This encourages you to think about how you can repurpose or utilize existing ideas in different contexts or applications. By exploring alternative uses, you can uncover hidden potentials and create innovative solutions.

The sixth letter, “E,” stands for Eliminate. This prompts you to identify and eliminate unnecessary or redundant elements of your problem. By eliminating, you can streamline your solutions and focus on what truly matters.

The last letter, “R,” stands for Reverse. This encourages you to think about reversing the order, process, or perspective of your problem. By reversing, you can challenge conventional thinking and discover unconventional solutions.

The benefits of using SCAMPER in problem solving

By incorporating SCAMPER into your problem-solving toolkit, you gain several advantages. Firstly, it helps break down mental barriers and encourages you to think outside the box. It challenges your assumptions and pushes you to explore unconventional solutions.

Secondly, SCAMPER enhances your ability to connect seemingly unrelated ideas. It allows you to combine different concepts and elements, creating innovative solutions that could revolutionize the way you approach problems.

Thirdly, SCAMPER empowers you to adapt and modify existing ideas. It enables you to breathe new life into old solutions, giving them a fresh perspective and transforming them into game-changers.

Moreover, SCAMPER stimulates your creativity by providing a structured framework for problem-solving. It guides your thinking process and encourages you to ask targeted questions that lead to unique insights and breakthrough ideas.

Lastly, SCAMPER fosters a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. By regularly applying SCAMPER, you develop a mindset that embraces change and embraces the constant search for better solutions.

In conclusion, SCAMPER is a powerful tool that can unlock your creative potential and revolutionize your problem-solving approach. By substituting, combining, adapting, modifying, putting to other uses, eliminating, and reversing, you can navigate the vast jungle of ideas and uncover innovative solutions that were previously hidden.

The SCAMPER Technique in Action

Now that we understand the essence of SCAMPER, let’s take a closer look at how to apply this technique in problem solving. Remember, SCAMPER is a journey of discovery – a process that takes you from questioning the status quo to unearthing groundbreaking ideas.

A step-by-step guide to applying SCAMPER in problem solving

1. Substitute: Start by asking yourself, “What can I substitute?” This question encourages you to replace elements or ideas with something different. Get creative and think outside the box! For example, if you’re designing a new kitchen utensil, ask yourself, “What can I substitute for traditional handles?”

2. Combine: Next, explore the possibilities of combining different elements. Consider how you can merge ideas, materials, or functions to create something unique. Don’t be afraid to mix things up! If you’re an aspiring chef, think about how you can combine two different cuisines to create a mouthwatering fusion dish.

3. Adapt: Harness the power of adaptation by asking, “How can I adapt or modify existing ideas?” This question prompts you to tweak existing solutions to fit your specific problem. It’s like giving an old suit a fashionable makeover! For example, think about how you can adapt your daily workout routine to suit your changing fitness goals.

Real-life examples of using SCAMPER to solve different types of problems

Let’s explore some real-life examples of how SCAMPER has been used to solve various problems:

  1. Substitute: The smartphone revolution was sparked by substituting traditional phones with touchscreen devices, forever changing the way we communicate.
  2. Combine: The concept of coworking spaces emerged from combining the social aspect of cafes with the functional environment of offices, fostering collaboration and creativity.
  3. Adapt: The rise of electric vehicles revolutionized transportation by adapting existing car designs and replacing internal combustion engines with eco-friendly alternatives.

S – Substitute

When it comes to problem solving, substitution is like opening a door to a world of possibilities. It’s about finding alternatives that breathe new life into old ideas or methods.

Exploring the concept of substitution in problem solving

Substitution involves asking yourself, “What can I replace to achieve a better outcome?” Sometimes, a simple change can make a significant difference. It’s like trading your worn-out shoes for a shiny new pair that takes you places you’ve never been.

Take Apple’s AirPods, for instance. They substituted traditional wired headphones with wireless, cutting the cords that tethered us to our devices. This simple substitution transformed the way we listen to music and communicate on the go.

Techniques and strategies for effective substitution using SCAMPER

To make effective substitutions, consider these strategies:

  • Brainstorm alternative materials or ingredients: Explore different options that can replace the existing ones. For instance, in the food industry, plant-based alternatives have become popular substitutes for animal-based products.
  • Look for alternative methods or approaches: Challenge existing processes and find better ways to achieve your desired outcome. Think about how ride-sharing apps substituted the traditional taxi system by utilizing technology to connect drivers with passengers more efficiently.
  • Consider alternative perspectives: Step into someone else’s shoes and view the problem from a different angle. This can provide fresh insights and lead to innovative solutions.

C – Combine

Combination is like a magical dance that brings together different elements, creating something greater than the sum of its parts. It’s about finding unexpected connections and weaving them into a beautiful tapestry of ideas.

Understanding the power of combination in problem solving

Combining ideas can lead to extraordinary breakthroughs. It’s like combining the flavors of sweet and salty in a single dish, creating a taste sensation that tantalizes the taste buds.

Consider the development of smartphones. By combining the functionality of a computer, a phone, and various other devices, smartphones have revolutionized the way we live, work, and connect with the world.

How to identify and combine different elements using SCAMPER

To identify and combine different elements effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Identify key elements: Analyze the problem and identify the essential components that can be combined. For example, if you’re designing a new gadget, think about how you can combine various features or functionalities.
  2. Brainstorm potential combinations: Let your imagination run wild and generate a list of possible combinations. Don’t censor yourself – even seemingly unrelated elements can lead to groundbreaking ideas.
  3. Evaluate and refine: Assess the potential of each combination and refine your list to focus on the most promising ideas. Consider the feasibility, practicality, and potential impact of each combination.

A – Adapt

Adaptation is the chameleon’s secret weapon. It’s the ability to flex and mold existing ideas or solutions to fit new situations. Adaptation is all about thinking on your feet and finding creative ways to overcome challenges.

Adapting existing ideas and solutions to solve new problems

Adaptation involves repurposing existing ideas or solutions to address different problems. It’s like using a versatile Swiss Army knife to tackle a variety of tasks.

Take the sharing economy, for example. Companies like Airbnb and Uber have adapted the concept of sharing resources to create thriving businesses. They’ve transformed spare rooms and private cars into profitable ventures, catering to ever-changing consumer needs.

Techniques for adapting and modifying using SCAMPER

To effectively adapt and modify using SCAMPER, consider these techniques:

  • Identify existing ideas or solutions: Look for ideas or solutions that have been successful in one context and explore their potential application in a different domain.
  • Identify commonalities and differences: Analyze the similarities and differences between the original idea or solution and the new problem you’re trying to solve. Identify what needs to be modified and what can be adapted.
  • Iterate and refine: Adaptation often requires an iterative process of trial and error. Continuously refine your modified idea or solution based on feedback and insights gained along the way.

Using SCAMPER as your problem-solving companion opens up a world of possibilities. It empowers you to explore, experiment, and innovate like never before. Just remember, problem-solving is not a linear process. Embrace the twists and turns, celebrate the dead ends as learning experiences, and trust that each step brings you closer to finding that game-changing solution. So, grab your SCAMPER toolbox and embark on your creative journey! The world awaits your problem-solving brilliance.


What is the SCAMPER technique in problem-solving?

A puzzle being solved with interconnected pieces

The SCAMPER technique is a problem-solving approach that involves Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Other uses, Eliminate, and Reverse.

How does SCAMPER technique in problem-solving work?

How to Use SCAMPER to Improve Decision-Making

It works by encouraging creative thinking and providing a structured framework to explore new perspectives, uncover hidden possibilities, and generate innovative solutions.

How does SCAMPER foster a creative mindset in problem-solving?

How Can SCAMPER Improve Project Planning?

SCAMPER fosters a creative mindset by providing a structured framework that challenges assumptions, encourages innovative thinking, and guides the exploration of unconventional solutions. It empowers individuals to adapt, combine, and think creatively to solve complex problems.

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