SCAMPER – Generating new products and services

SCAMPER is a checklist that helps you to think of changes you can make to an existing product to create a new one. You can use these changes either as direct suggestions or as starting points for lateral thinking.

Developed by Bob Eberle, the changes SCAMPER stands for are:

  • S – Substitute – components, materials, people
  • C - Combine – mix, combine with other assemblies or services, integrate
  • A – Adapt – alter, change function, use part of another element
  • M – Modify – increase or reduce in scale, change shape, modify attributes (e.g. colour)
  • P – Put to another use
  • E – Eliminate – remove elements, simplify, reduce to core functionality
  • R – Reverse – turn inside out or upside down, also use of Reversal.

As an example, imagine that you are a manufacturer of nuts and bolts, and you were looking for new products. SCAMPER would give you:

  • Substitute – use of high tech materials for niche markets, such as high speed steel? Carbon fiber? Plastics? Glass? Non-reactive material?
  • Combine – integrate nut and bolt? Bolt and washer? Bolt and spanner?
  • Adapt – put Allen key or Star head on bolt? Countersink head?
  • Modify – produce bolts for watches or bridges? Produce different shaped bolts (e.g. screw in plugs)? Pre-painted green bolts?
  • Put to another use – bolts as hinge pins? As axles?
  • Eliminate – Eliminate nuts, washers, heads, thread, etc.
  • Reverse – make dies as well as bolts, make bolts that cut threads for themselves in material, etc.

Using SCAMPER here has helped you define possible new products. Many of the ideas may be impractical or may not suit the equipment used by the manufacturer. However some of these ideas could be good starting points for new products.

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