The SCAMPER method is one of the cornerstones for Design Thinking. It allows many of the principles of design and creative thinking to flourish under the helping hand of a structured and concise process. Design Thinking owes much of its intuitiveness and ease of approach to the fundamentals of the SCAMPER method.
Here are the steps of the SCAMPER method so you can start using it in your own design work!
The first step of the process. At this point, you are simply asking yourself: Which parts of the project can you substitute for another while still leaving the whole of the project intact? Don’t be afraid to brainstorm in this stage and consider replacing bits and pieces of the project with other components just to see what happens! Experimentation can lead to great results.
When you get to this stage, you want to think about the possibility of merging two or more ideas or parts of the project together. Imagine the result; would it be a good thing? Could it jeopardize the project’s goal? Could it enhance the project’s goal? When combining, these are important things to ask.
When adapting the project, the idea is to think of ways that you can adjust or edit the project to bring about a greater result. Now you’re not so much thinking about how the pieces fit together, like the earlier two steps, but rather how each individual piece looks on its own. Don’t underestimate this stage! The answer is often found in the smallest details.
The difference between this stage and the earlier one is now you’re thinking of big picture changes; things that affect the whole project. These are major changes to core components of the whole design and they should not be taken lightly, though of course brainstorming and experimenting are always a good thing as a temporary measure. At the end of this step, you should really feel like everything is starting come together in a big way.
Put to another use
Here is where you want to consider how you can use the process to add or solve to elements of another project or process. If the situation calls for it, you should look outside the scope of the current design to other relevant ones. Don’t be afraid to mix and match elements of different projects to solve one another!
Here is the least enjoyable but also one of the most crucial steps: Ask yourself which parts of the project can be eliminated to make the whole design work better. And don’t try to pretend that there aren’t any! You’ll find, more often than not, that there are always ways to enhance the design by simplifying it.
And the final step is to reverse. What is it you want to reverse? Everything! Not permanently, of course, but consider reversing the whole process and seeing how that changes the final result. You might find that serious improvements can be made along the way if you move different steps of the project around. In this step, like all the others, don’t be afraid to experiment just to see what happens!