By now, you should have several pages of research on a couple different topics. The next step will open your eyes to the possibilities in front of you.
We are going to use a process called SCAMPER — which stands for:
Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Purpose, Eliminate and Reverse.
SCAMPER is an acronym created by Alex Osbourne, known as the father of creative problem-solving.
Remember I told you never to be a hack. There are a lot of those in the passive income world, so how can you develop a product if everyone else beat you to it? Innovate.
I did that with the Learn-Ventriloquism Course. Plenty of ventriloquism courses are out there. I used a time-release software to create virtual private instructions, which forced students to practice a technique before they could move forward. No one else had done that. I also added modules that had never been taught to ventriloquists — techniques that improved their skills and shortened their learning curve. I looked at what was available and then figured out how I could take the same basic information, improve upon it and create something unique. In the field, it was groundbreaking. You can do the same thing!
What is your “something different”? Your innovation may be automation. It may be knowledge you have that you haven’t seen elsewhere. It may be something you learned in a different field that could fit perfectly into the subject and make life easier for others. This exercise will help you find your unique angle.
Let’s look at the SCAMPER formula. We will begin with the S, which stands for substitute. With your list in front of you, look at the products available. Take one title or product and ask yourself, is there something I could substitute? In the product itself, or maybe in the title or name? How could you replace one thing for another to create something totally unique? Write down your ideas and move to the next one.
Don’t let writer’s block stop you. If you draw a blank, move on. You should spend less than two minutes on each item’s substitutions. Hopefully you will come up with some killer ideas. If not — no problem. Try substituting things later.
Next use the C for combine. What two products could you somehow combine to create something different and unique? In retail, they call this bundling. Razors are bundled with razor blades. String is bundled with needles, buttons and a small scissors to create a sewing kit. What could you combine or bundle? Go over your list and make notes.
Our next step is to adapt. How could you adapt or redesign something to make it better? Again, spend a few minutes with each product and move forward. Do not allow these steps to stop you.
Modify! This is an easy step. How could you modify each product to make it unique? What could you recreate within the product? What would you change to make it more suitable to your own needs when you were starting to learn? This step is solid gold if done correctly.
Purpose: the original use was to take an item and figure out a new use or “purpose.” Ideas and information are much more fluid. In my opinion this concept is better suited to the development of your content than the original idea.
Eliminate: I created my own competition for my first product. That’s right — I have two online ventriloquism courses. Why would I do that? I saw the potential to recreate and go in a different direction.
I created the competition by eliminating things and charging more. That’s right. Eliminating, yet increasing the value. How did I do it? The top ventriloquism course in the past had 30 lessons; my online virtual course had 36 lessons. The new course pared everything down into just nine lessons — all the same material covered in nine lessons. To increase value, I brought in two respected pros. Customers would now receive insights from three experts in the business. We also included an online Skype coaching session with each of us. The course seems simpler, easier to use — and the personal coaching offers incredible value. The course has had pretty good results.
So elimination can be a good thing. What could you remove to make learning easier? Check your list and write out your ideas.
Reverse – What could you reverse in the products you see? This one can be hard to envision, so an example may help. Imagine a time management book. I don’t know if this is a title or not, but let’s pretend you have a book called Time Management – Getting Things Done. A reverse of that would be: Stop Wasting Time and Achieve More. You’ve reversed from the topic to focus on the benefit. Sometimes just changing the title in some way can open up possibilities.
So now is the time to SCAMPER through your lists and make some changes. Take the time to develop something unique that will keep you excited as you move forward.