Everything new is a modification of something existing, according to Michael Michalko, developer of a brainstorming tool called Thinkpak. I can’t disagree with his assessment. Thinkpak uses the mnemonic device – SCAMMPERR to help you look at things in a different way. So, when creating a new product, service, idea or process, you can use this device to help. SCAMMPERR stands for:
S – Substitute something
C – Combine it with something else
A – Adapt something to it
M – Magnify or add to it
M – Modify it
P – Put it to some other uses
E – Eliminate something
R – Rearrange it
R – Reverse it
Today, let’s look at some examples of Substitute:
Let’s say you are a manufacturer of battery powered products but want to eliminate the need for disposable batteries. What could you do? A small solar cell might give you enough power if it is a product primarily used in daylight, or the solar cell could power up a rechargeable battery. Alternatively, you could substitute a hand cranked generator for the batteries.
A company thinks its spectacles are too heavy. What might they substitute to take weight out of their product? Would another material help? Perhaps they could substitute plastic for glass in the lenses. Or, use a lighter metal like titanium for the frames. Is there another approach? Contact lenses would really take the weight out.
Some of the key questions you can ask using the substitute approach include:
What can be substituted? Who can be substituted? What other part can be substituted? What other process would work better? What other place would work better?
What other perspective could be substituted? For example, how would Leonardo da Vinci view the problem?
What problems do you have that could be solved with substitution? Let us know. Next time, we’ll take a look at how to use Combine as a creativity tool.