What is the essence of SCAMPER ?. It is a brainstorming technique used by creatives and product developers, however it is a technique anyone can apply to almost anything, all in all it is a pneumonic that stands for:
S – Substitute.
C – Combine.
A – Adapt.
M – Modify.
P – Put to another use.
E – Eliminate.
R – Reverse.
The term SCAMPER was coined by the author Bob Eberle in his book Scamper, it is now out of print, however a follow-up called Scamper on is still available.
You can apply any or all of these seven approaches to change and rethink most any concept you are working on, you can either change it in some way, come up with a whole new idea, or a fresh look on something. It is also useful when you get stuck on something and need a change to move on, or improve the idea and/or concept you are working on.
Lets analyse some of the history of the fast food chain McDonald’s, and see if we can find some examples of the SCAMPER technique being applied.
In 1940 McDonald’s Bar-B-Q opens in California, it is a typical drive-in place featuring a large menu and a car hop service.
Eight years later they close the restaurant for three months due to alterations.They then re-open as a self-service,drive-in restaurant.The manu is reduced to nine items: Hamburger, Cheeseburger, soft drinks, milk, coffee,potato chips,and a slice of pie. The staple of the menu being the 15 cent hamburger.
Here they Eliminated most of the menu and Adapted by drastically simplifying the choices of the consumer, making it easier to supply the demand of more customers, doubling the effectiveness of the kitchen by minimising its tasks as well as removing alot of the complicated choices. Meaning they could create a bigger supply for a bigger demand.
In 1949 they Modified the potato chips and switched them out with french fries.
One could also argue the potato was Put to another use here.
In 1955 an architect by the name of Stanley Meston created big yellow arches on the restaurants making it a known symbol for the chain, a symbol that would in 1969 be Modified to the M we all know today and Substitute the company logo known as “speedee” from decorating the restaurants back in 1948 until 1969.
As the years progressed they Adapted using several of the techniques used in the SCAMPER method.
The historical notes about McDonald’s was researched and found on the website http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/mcd.html