Rethinking the present reality – SCAMPER

Sometimes when we are looking to the future and hoping to innovate we can actually be held back by what already exists.  Thinking creatively and openly about current ministires or ways of working can be very hard.

SCAMPER is a tool that gives us seven questions to ask about the status quo.  By forcing ourselves to wrestle with these questions, often we can find a break through that would otherwise have remained hidden.

Here is a brief description of each question, to be applied to our service, ministry or product:

Substitute?

What if we substituted one part of what we are doing with something else?  What would we end up with?  What happens if we swap these bits?

Combine?

What if we combined two existing things we are doing?  What if we combined various elements of two things?

Adapt?

What if we adapted what we are doing?  What if we changed how we did different parts of it?

Modify?

What if this part of what we are doing was changed dramatically?  What would happen?  What would be lost?  What would be gained?

Purpose?

What if we changed the purpose of what we are doing?  What else could this achieve?

Eliminate?

What if various part of what we are doing were eliminated altogether?  What problems would it cause?  What opportunities might it bring?  What if it were eliminated completely?

Reverse?

What if we did things in a different order?  What could we do the other way round?

Remember that it is important even to entertain the most crazy thoughts since those could contain a kernel of something useful.  Not every question will be helpful in terms of producing an answer, but it will help us in thinking more freely.

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