Behind every great product design and invention there is immense creativity behind it. As industrial designers, it’s normal that sometimes you just hit a wall or are in a rut when it comes to channeling creativity to design or solve a problem. These exercises can help you boost your designs by channeling creativity.
The SCAMPER Method
The SCAMPER method was created in the 50s and remains a go-to today for creative professionals like designers. The SCAMPER method helps you look down seven different avenues of thinking to help you solve a problem and look at it in a new light. The seven different techniques are:
Substitute: This technique focuses on the parts of the product that can be replaced with another. How would the substitution change the product?
Combine: Look at the benefits or challenges that would come up if you combine your product design with a direct competitor? What about if you combine it with a product that is completely different? This focuses on the idea of merging two ideas together.
Adapt: Look at adjustments that can be made (big or small) that can make radical changes to the whole project. This technique aims to solve a problem through enhancing an existing product.
Modify: Can you tweak the approach to the design problem to make it more efficient? What would need to be done to the design for it to serve a different user goal?
Eliminate: Great designs can sometimes be the most simple. Look at the product and strip it down to the bare minimum. What’s left? How can you use this as a starting point?
Reverse: Reverse or rearrange the process in the production line to see if this can help you solve problems or produce a better output.
When industrial designers walk their design through this process, new insights can surface to help improve and build your product.
Imagine your product is alive
This sounds completely bizarre but it can help you see your product in a new light and a very human perspective. First it begins by imagining your product as if it were human. Start with a series of questions about your product’s personality like:
- How old would they be?
- Where do they live? Details of their home/apartment?
- What do they do for fun?
- What’s their drink of choice?
Asking questions like this may seem strange but posing these questions about your product will help you gather insights on how other people might see it. It’ll also help you identify the qualities of the personality of your product and can help with further creativity surrounding it.
Both of these exercises can help harness creativity in product design and help designers look at their products and projects in a new light.
Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent
MAKO Design + Invent is a full-service consumer product development firm servicing both high-growth corporate manufacturers and invention startups. With a 25-person team across 3 offices (Austin, England, Toronto), MAKO has complete in-house industrial design, mechanical Engineering, and electrical engineering design and prototyping services. To assist our start-up inventor clients, we also have a subsidiary branch called Mako Invent that, in addition to above, helps start-ups with patenting, strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. For our corporate clients, MAKO Design develops world-class consumer electronics designs through our industrial, mechanical, and electrical design teams.
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