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Some of us are naturally creative. For others of us, it takes some work. Either way is okay as long as you are willing to work on your creative skills.
To start, let’s consider the definition of create:
- to make or produce something
- to cause something new to exist
- to produce something new by using your talents and imagination
Think about creativity in terms of looking at a problem or situation and thinking of all of the ways to solve the problem or move a situation forward. It may include thinking “outside the box” or asking questions that start in “what if” or “why not”. Use your imagination, too. Creativity is often a mix of dreaming and using logical thought to make the dream a reality.
If creativity does not come naturally to you, that is okay. Here are a couple of techniques that can help.
“Developed by Tony Buzan in 1972, mindmapping is a visual ideation technique that encourages you to draw connections between different sets of ideas or information. You’ll start by writing a keyword in the middle of the page (this could be a product category or the start of an idea). On the same piece of paper, you then surround this word with any and all ideas that come to mind (different flavors, forms, trends). Finally, you’ll think about how these ideas are connected, depicting said connections with lines and curves—resulting in a visual map.” (Stevens, 2020)
SCAMPER is a checklist that helps you to think of changes you can make to an existing product or solution to create a new one. This can be done in a list or table form. Developed by Bob Eberle (1996), the changes SCAMPER stands for are:
S – Substitute – components, ingredients, packaging size/materials, people (people could be the target audience).
C – Combine – mix, combine with other assemblies or food types, integrate.
A – Adapt – alter, change function or use, use part of another element.
M – Modify – increase or reduce in scale, change shape, modify attributes (e.g. color, flavor).
P – Put to another use (e.g. breakfast foods as snacks).
E – Eliminate – remove elements, simplify, reduce to the simplest component.
R – Reverse/Rearrange – turn inside out or upside down, or reverse the use of the food (soup in a sandwich, cheese inside a pretzel, etc.).
Start with a product category or specific product and then work through the SCAMPER list to see what possible products emerge. This method may be more effective for line extensions (think Starburst jelly beans or Reese’s peanut butter cups in holiday shapes), but it can also help with brand new product ideas. Almost all new food products come from a food/flavor/format that consumers already know and buy (otherwise it is hard to explain what the new product is). Examples of using SCAMPER are available online.
- Stevens, E. (2020). What Is Ideation In Design Thinking? A Guide To The Most Important Ideation Techniques. CareerFoundry. Retrieved June 6, 2021 from https://careerfoundry.com/en/blog/ux-design/what-is-ideation-in-design-thinking/ ↵
- Erberle, B. (1996). Scamper: Games for Imagination Development. Prufrock Press Inc. ↵