It would be safe to say Paris isn’t missing any more cafes. Home to some of the most renowned culinary establishments in the world, the City of Lights boasts thousands of eateries, spanning every possible gastronomic permutation you could imagine. Now, picture opening a new café at a city like that – the courage to place your hopes and dreams (and probably savings) in such a red ocean! The mind boggles.

Competitive differentiation is just one of the conundrums we face on a daily basis. What can we do differently? How can we work through a problem? How can we delight our clients? Sure, we need to be creative. But how?

Part of the Kenshoo Innovation team’s mission is to teach proven methodologies to think creatively, driven from our belief that creativity is a skill that can taught and practiced, just like cooking. Sure, some are just born with an innate ability to make fantastic food, but most of us can get through life with a recipe book and a measuring spoon.

In the world of creative thinking, one of my favorite “recipes” is SCAMPER – a simple, seven letter acronym which allows you to generate (and reverse-engineer your way to) pretty much any brilliant idea.

Bob Eberle coined the mnemonic back in the 1970’s as a way to easily sum up and apply Genrich Altshuller’s Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ). Since then, it has been the powerful tool and driving force behind thousands of new services and products.

The answer to life the universe and everything may very well be 42, but you’ll find that one or more of the following could definitely do the job:

  • 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

How do you bring SCAMPER to life? And how did the Parisian café owner end up differentiating the new business? Stay tuned for Part 2!