Diesel treat toy SCAMPER Creative thinking

SCAMPER is a useful creative thinking technique to use if there is already an existing product or service that you can use as a starting point for your ideas. It’s based on the theory that nothing is really new, everything is a development of a pre existing idea or ideas.

SCAMPER stands for:

• Substitute
• Combine
• Adapt
• Modify
• Put it to another use
• Eliminate
• Reverse

Each of the words above are used to question the product or service that you use as a starting point.

So looking at the example of a dog’s treat toy as a starting point you might first try to break the treat toy down into it’s parts:

Break the Product or Service into its Parts

• the material – it’s made of – plasticdog treat toy SCAMPER creative thinking
• its shape – like a wishbone
• it has gaps/slots for the treats
• it has circular ends
• it has the ability to grip treats
• colour – purple

Work through the SCAMPER words in question form

Then looking at the toy as both a whole and also the list of parts you wrote down start asking the SCAMPER questions. For example for substitute you might have the following


What could you substitute on the treat toy?
Could you substitute the material?
• Maybe it’s made of wood, or cloth or tennis ball material.
Could you substitute a different shape?
Is there a more interesting or fun shape than the wishbone
• a spaceship where the treats are windows
• a hedgehog where the treats are spines, a rabbit where the treats are it’s ears?
Could you substitute (change) the colour?

Go through each of the other words in the same way


What could you combine with the treat toy or part of it?


How could you ADAPT the treat toy?
ADAPT – also means you can start thinking of how you could adapt the toy or its parts for different uses, it might no longer even be a dog toy.


How could you modify the treat toy or part of it?

Put to Another Use

How could you put the treat toy or elements of it to another use?


How could you reverse something about the treat toy to come up with new ideas?

Each of the words can help you question an aspect of the existing treat toy. It means you no longer have to accept things that you might otherwise have taken to “have to be that way”

Give it a try.