Osborn checklist

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The Osborn checklist is a creativity technique that can systematically provide ideas for new products or processes by means of a playful, experimental modification of existing products and processes.

This technique, intended as a guide to applied ingenuity, was published by Alex Osborn around 1957. Her focus is on developing new ideas from existing ones by suggesting six different verbs that can be applied to the existing idea or product.

The checklist was later supplemented with the additional entry Eliminate and published as a SCAMPER checklist.

Like many other creativity techniques , the application of the Osborn checklist in teams involves an initial learning and coordination effort. One of the difficulties is to find suitable concretizations of the six very abstract verbs. For example, the Customize list entry raises the question of what could be customized. The table shows several possible alternatives for use in product improvement for each verb.

A typical version:
number approach Question sentence
1 Other use? Are there any alternative uses as is?
2 Other use? Are there any alternative uses if it is customized?
3 To adjust? What else is like this?
4th To adjust? What other ideas / uses does it stimulate?
5 To adjust? Are there parallels in the past?
6th To adjust? What can i copy?
7th To adjust? Who can I imitate, what can I imitate?
8th Modify? New turn, twist, direction?
9 Modify? Change meaning, color, movement, direction, sound, smell, shape, shape!
10 Modify? Give it other shapes, geometries!
11 Enlarge? What can i add?
12 Enlarge? What arises in a longer period, cycle; larger timeframe?
13 Enlarge? Higher frequency, more frequent occurrence?
14th Enlarge? More stable, stronger, stronger?
15th Enlarge? Higher?
16 Enlarge? Extend?
17th Enlarge? Thicken?
18th Enlarge? Add additional value, increase value?
19th Enlarge? Additional component, ingredient, ability?
20th Enlarge? Duplicate?
21st Enlarge? Multiply?
22nd Enlarge? Exaggerate, exaggerate?
23 Zoom out? What's removable?
24 Zoom out? Zoom out?
25th Zoom out? Compacting, condensing?
26th Zoom out? Miniaturize?
27 Zoom out? Flatten?
28 Zoom out? Shorten?
29 Zoom out? Slim down? Lightweight construction?
30th Zoom out? Omit, omit?
31 Zoom out? Rationalize, make more streamlined?
32 Zoom out? Split up?
33 Zoom out? Understate, undervalue, devalue?
34 Replace? Whom instead?
35 Replace? What instead?
36 Replace? Another ingredient, ingredient, ingredient, operating material?
37 Replace? Other material?
38 Replace? Different process, manufacture, dismantling?
39 Replace? Other energy, drive source?
40 Replace? Another place?
41 Replace? Different approach?
42 Replace? Different sound, tone, voice?
43 Rearrange? Component replacement?
44 Rearrange? Different scheme, decor, model, appearance?
45 Rearrange? Different layout?
46 Rearrange? Other order?
47 Rearrange? Swap cause and effect?
48 Rearrange? Steps, steps, change pace?
49 Rearrange? Process, change grid?
50 Turning back? Regroup positive and negative?
51 Turning back? What about the opposite?
52 Turning back? Bridle from behind?
53 Turning back? Turn it upside down?
54 Turning back? Swap roles or tasks?
55 Turning back? Put on each other's shoes?
56 Turning back? Turn the tables?
57 Turning back? Disposable to reusable? Reusable to disposable?
58 Combine? What about a mix, an alloy, a selection, a collection?
59 Combine? Combine units!
60 Combine? Combine intentions, areas of application!
61 Combine? Combine claims!
62 Combine? Combine ideas, approaches, partial solutions!
All questions can be answered in the given order or in any order. Experienced users can be guided by the approaches to creative design. The processing of all questions should serve to completely cover different perspectives.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Tom H. Lautenbacher: The development of business ideas - A guide to the systematic generation, evaluation and selection of ideas for new business areas in the context of internal corporate venturing. VDM, Saarbrücken 2011, ISBN 978-3-639-32386-3 , p. 78.