Mind Map Review: Creative problem solving with SCAMPER

Filed Under Mind Mapping

Problem Solving with SCAMPER
Liam Hughes

by
October 19, 2015

Mind mapping expert and Biggerplate founder Liam Hughes will be stopping by regularly to share the best maps posted at Biggerplate.com. See how other people around the world are using MindManager in business, education, and life!

This week I’m looking at a great MindManager mind map from the archives; uploaded back in 2008 by Lucianop, and downloaded over 2,500 times since then!

Creative Problem Solving with SCAMPER

Problem Solving with SCAMPERYou may already know SCAMPER as a creative thinking technique/framework that encourages people to answer a set of questions that will help them think differently about a particular problem or opportunity.

SCAMPER stands for Substitute, Combine, Magnify, Put to other use, Eliminate, and Rearrange/Reverse.

While the technique is relatively well known, I have not seen that many mind map interpretations of it. The popularity of this map suggests that it may be a framework that lends itself naturally to mind mapping.

View or download the mind map at Biggerplate.com

Using this Mind Map

This mind map would make a great jumping off point for an individual or team brainstorm around a particular problem or opportunity. I’d suggest putting your problem or opportunity as the central topic, so that anyone viewing the map keeps the original prompt in mind throughout the process.

The seven main topics have a number of questions attached, each designed to prompt thinking in relation to the topic at hand. For example, under ‘Substitute’, we’re asked ‘can I substitute one part for another? Can the rules be changed? Can I replace someone involved?’

The great thing about working through this process as a MindManager mind map, is that you can build out directly from each question with the first reactions and ideas you have, and then then move, edit, and refine them as you go. The mind map format will help you hugely, because it will always help you see the links between the ideas, and enable you to trace back any time to remind yourself of how you got there, no matter how big the mind map gets.

You may find you’ve got a response to every question, but there are quite a few in the map, and you may find that some questions don’t prompt much/any response. It may therefore be helpful to remove some of these questions, or at least move them to the bottom of the topic so the map remains a bit clearer and focused on the areas where you have some ideas.

By the time you work through each section of the map, you should have plenty of ideas on the page, and so it may be beneficial to mark the stand out topics with images or icons to help make them more prominent, either because they’re great ideas, or because they’re big problems! Either way, you want to make them visual, so that you can see them at a glance more easily, and/or so that you can filter the map to show only the most pressing issues.

Know Your Problem

This is a great mind map to use for your creative problem solving, but it’s important to remember that there’s a process to go through before you start the SCAMPER steps. It’s extremely important to take time to clearly define what the problem is in the first place, before you start trying to solve it. Whether it’s “our website traffic is declining” or “our new product is behind schedule”, this step can be missed, or done in a hurry, often because we’re under pressure, and (understandably) think it will be more efficient to jump straight into problem solving. Sadly, this can often mean we’re not solving the right problem, or at least, we’re not addressing the real problem, but rather a surface level manifestation of it. In essence, we can end up with some creative solutions to a symptom, rather than creative solutions for the root cause. Before you start the SCAMPER process, take a little time to define the problem. Your creative solutions will be much better for it!

To view and download this mind map, plus thousands more MindManager templates and examples, please feel free to visit us at Biggerplate.com

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