Workshop Exercises: Ideate


Analyze current and existing problems through seven different lenses

Illustration of SCAMPER
Run a SCAMPER play

Alternative plays: Figure Storming, Forced Analogy, Mash-up

Follow-up plays: Forced Analogy, Mash-up

Timing: Planning

Origin: Alex Osborn laid the foundation, Bob Eberle formed the questions

Run time
30-60 minutes

Group size

Why: Everything new is just an addition or modification to something that already existed

When: When your imagination is blank, take an existing item and manipulate it into a new idea

This workshop exercise is part of the Workshop Patterns printed card deck.

A collection of workshop exercises that will help you ditch dull meetings and facilitate with confidence. It will help you master the design process and have more productive time with your team. The card deck will be ready for purchase in the end of 2023 and is now undergoing rigorous testing.

Reserve your deck!

Instructions for running this play

SCAMPER is a general-purpose checklist for manipulating existing ideas into new ones by asking a series of questions.

  1. Agree on an idea or existing product or service to manipulate. Example: Improve the product of a paper clip
  2. Go through the following checklist of questions:

    • S – Substitute something
      What can be substituted in the clip?
    • C – Combine it with something else
      What can we combine the clip with to make something else?
    • A – Adapt something to it
      What can we adapt to the clip?
    • M – Modify or Magnify it
      What can we magnify or put more emphasis on in the clip?
    • P – Put it to some other use
      What other uses can we find for the clip?
    • E – Eliminate something
      What can be eliminated from the clip?
    • R – Reverse or Rearrange it
      What rearrangement of the clip might be better?

  3. Apply the questions to values, benefits, services, touch points, product attributes, pricing, markets, or any other related aspect you might think of.

Tips to perfect this play

Master and adapt the play to fit your context and needs.

Tip: Choose a theme

Focus the exercise around a specific theme or challenge to concentrate creative energy

Tip: Create pairs

Have participants pair up and discuss ideas for each SCAMPER element, then share with the larger group

Tip: Silent reflection

Allow individuals to silently reflect on each element before sharing ideas, fostering deeper thought

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Relieve initial group awkwardness and establish a safe space

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