The Scamper Method is a technique that involves bringing creativity to the surface of groups of people, In terms of finding solutions to specific problems. Scamper is an Anglo-Saxon acronym, made up of several words so that it can be easily memorized, and the initials indicate the phases of this process. It is an idea which began to be implemented in the middle of the 20th century and which is today more and more presented as essential in any type of organization.
Keep in mind that creativity is a phenomenon that depends a lot on the context. Some people have it as an innate quality, a natural gift, but for much of society this element is very hidden or underdeveloped. So, the Scamper Method is just a useful tool to sort out and improve this avalanche of ideas that can help us solve a problem, usually in the context of companies and the resolution of tasks professionally.
What is the Scamper Method?
The Scamper method is a concept derived from a precedent, the strategy of “barinstorming” or “brainstorming” by American author and publicist Alex Osborn, a pioneer in the modern marketing world. His technique was developed by observing, monitoring and noting the daily habits of people, as well as the exchange of ideas between them. Without a group, this activity cannot be performed.
Mr. Osborn’s work has been so successful that it has earned him recognition from multinational companies as important as General Electric, DuPont, American Tobacco and renowned sports tire manufacturer BF Goodrich. After achieving so much success, he decided to set up his own International Center for the Study of Creativity, giving courses on “Creative Problem Solving”. It was therefore Bob Eberle who, in the middle of the 20th century, created the Scamper method, derived directly from the idea of Alex Osborn, with the aim of perfecting the technique in a pragmatic sense.
Before developing the idea, we need to be aware of what each letter that makes up the concept means. Thus, Scamper responds to: Replace, combine, adapt, modify, suggest other uses, delete, to order.
What is the technique?
Although it seems dedicated to groups of intellectuals, companies or complex organizations, the truth is that the Scamper Method can be applied in any field or social domain. Even in emergency or survival situations. It is particularly easy to achieve. Below are the steps to follow.
1. Identify the problem to be solved
This is the step prior to conflict resolution. It is very important to know how to identify what is not preventing you from growing or progressing. Many companies do not neglect this point and simply increase spending on tasks performed normally.
2. Ask the SCAMPER questions
Once the anomaly or the desire to create ideas detected, we apply the SCAMPER questions to answer them within the group. No assessment should be rejected. At this point there is no rejection.
3. Organize the responses
In this case, we will collect the responses we have received. All this without censoring or discrediting any, As unproductive as it may sound on a personal level.
4. Evaluate ideas
Now yes, in this step it is necessary to determine which are the priorities, which are valid to solve the problem and which are less important. We will also focus on rejection, but these invalid ideas may serve another future problem.
This last point is the most important. We must choose the ideas that are best suited to resolve the conflict, By written justification, setting out the reasons why these ideas should be applied.
The effectiveness of the Scamper method
As we have seen in the previous points, the Scamper method is easy to apply, intuitive to a certain extent, and does not involve any additional expense beyond a certain opportunity cost in the event of a failure. Yes, people’s creativity plays a decisive role, of course, but we must strive to implement it regardless of the nature of people.
A recent study by ESADE shows that in an overwhelming 80% of cases where it is applied, the productive results of the company are improved. It should be noted that the more we use the Scamper method, the more it will be mechanical and simple to apply.
We’ll start by taking a paper, a pen, and a protocol to implement it, but over time we’ll do it intuitively and mentally. This does not mean that with every problem that arises there will be a new challenge which will involve developing Scamper in a more complex way.