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SCAMPER provides a ‘hip-pocket’ tool; ie, an unplanned method of developing appropriate questions on an impromptu basis.

With SCAMPER, you may also take raw input (ie, first-cut ideation lists) and challenge participants to calibrate their raw input into something closer to the form of the answer being sought. Use the questions prompted by SCAMPER to stimulate more ideas as well. For example, “How might we combine ‘A’ and ‘B’?”

“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.”
Albert Einstein

SCAMPER Method

SCAMPER is a Mnemonic Prompt for Excellent, Impromptu Questions

SCAMPER is a Mnemonic Prompt

Select appropriate questions offered through the mnemonic known as SCAMPER and challenge some of the raw data or initial input to help the group build and understand additional options.

SCAMPER — Similar Perspectives

In addition to SCAMPER, consider changing perspective to capture new ideas. For example, assign analogies of famous people, organization, or entropic situations. Ask—“What would (insert blank from below) do in this scenario?” Or, compare and contrast results through break-out groups, such as:

  • Steve Jobs and Apple versus Bill Gates and Microsoft
  • A monastery versus the mafia (organized crime)
  • A university versus the military
  • An ant kingdom versus the weather system (ecosystem), etc.

Nobody is smarter than everybody because groups create more options than individual ideas that are aggregated. SCAMPER or changing perspectives makes it easier to create new ideas during the meeting that did not exist prior to the meeting. Any group or individual is known to make higher quality decision when provided with more options.

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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