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If you are not a knitter the term UFO may mean flying saucers but that is not what I'm talking about. If you are a crafter chances are you have several of these. A UFO is crafter slang for an Unfinished Object.

I have several that are in various stages of completion and I have been looking for a way to get moving on them. I am hoping SCAMPER is that thing.

The SCAMPER Concept 

MANIPULATION IS THE BROTHER OF CREATIVITY, says Michael Michalko, author of Tinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques. 

“When your imagination is as blank as a waiter’s stare,” he writes, turn to the concept of SCAMPER. 

What, exactly, is meant by SCAMPER? It’s a checklist of idea-generating questions, some of which were first suggested by Alex Osborn, a creativity pioneer. Later, they were arranged into this mnemonic by Bob Eberle: 

Substitute something. 
Combine it with something else.
Adapt something to it. 
Modify or magnify it. 
Put it to some other use. 
Eliminate something. 
Reverse or rearrange it. 

SCAMPER diagram

To use SCAMPER, Michalko suggests two steps: 

1. Isolate the project, challenge, or object, or subject you’re working on; 

2. Ask SCAMPER questions about each step of the project or subject and see what new ideas emerge. 

Substitute: What can be substituted—other ingredients? Other materials? Other processes or procedures? Other approaches? Other pieces? 

Combine: What ideas can be combined? Can you combine materials, processes, tools, or techniques? Can you blend something or create an assortment? 

Adapt: To become an expert at adaptation, ask yourself these questions, says Michalko: What else is like this? What other idea does this suggest? What could I copy or emulate? What ideas can be adapted from other techniques, fields, nature, etc.? 

Modify or magnify: Can your object be magnified, made larger, extended, exaggerated, overstated, added, duplicated or carried to dramatic extreme? Can it be altered, twisted, changed, or reformed or repackaged? 

Put it to some other use: What else can this object be used for? Alternatively, what else could be made from this object? 

Eliminate: Can this object be condensed, compacted, streamlined, or separated? Can it be made smaller? What parts, pieces, or areas are not necessary?

Reverse or rearrange: Creativity, Michalko says, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Can your object or project be rearranged into a different pattern, layout, sequence, or order? Consider it reversed, backward, or upside down.

SCAMPER IS A great technique for kick-starting just about any stalled project. Simply apply one—or all—of the questions to your object and see what happens.

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” —SUN TZU (C. 6TH CENTURY BC) Chinese military strategist, author of The Art of War

Call, Barbara R.. The Crafter's Devotional: 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit (p. 144). Creative Publishing International. Kindle Edition. 


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