The SCAMPER exercise was created by Bob Eberle and is an acronym for a set of words representing different aspects of ‘outside the box’ thinking and it aims at helping the user to adopt different points of views and actions toward a certain problem or idea. The scamper exercise was also introduced to the learners during the Set4Change workshop on innovation in social entrepreneurship.
Scamper stands for:
Is there something in your current project/process/product that could be substituted with something else? Or could the entire process be substituted with something else?
Are there two independent processes/products/processes in your organisation or work that could be combined to create better outcomes?
How could your existing product/process be used for a different purpose as well as the intended purpose? Could it be used for a different target audience, in a different environment or among different groups of people?
Could the size, composition or order of your product/procedure/staff be changed? Can parts of it be removed or added? What would be the consequences of these actions?
PUT TO OTHER USE
How could people/products/tools/procedures etc. be put to different use? Are there special skills or tools that are under/over utilised in your organisation? Could they be put to different use?
Can you identify individual parts/people/procedures/steps that could be eliminated from the organisation or a process? Are all the steps taken in production necessary? Are all parts of your product/service valuable?
Could some steps/roles/procedures be rearranged or done in a different order to create better efficiency and outputs?
The exercise can be very useful to entrepreneurs in particular as it connects well with how to utilise your existing resources in an innovative way and make your organisation work more effectively with less resources. This is the idea behind Social Entrepreneurship where the profits gained from the business activities are put back into the organisation with the main aim being to expand the services offered, not to make profit for shareholders. Scampering can help you think more innovatively about the resources available to you and adapt your thinking from “I don’t have enough to do that” to “I have plenty to do that and more”.