Actionable Ideas #7: Scenius, SCAMPER, And/Or

In these actionable ideas articles, I highlight three ideas that you can convert into immediate action to drive meaningful value in your work and life.

Idea #1: Find Your Scenius

Themes: collaboration, community, creativity

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A scenius (coined by musician Brian Eno) is a portmanteau of "scene" and "genius" and stands for the "intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene. It is the communal form of the concept of the genius.” Under this model, rather than a hierarchical model, great ideas are birthed by a group of creative individuals who make up an "ecology of talent". Individuals immersed in a productive scenius will blossom and produce their best work.

Action item: identify the skills you want to improve and the types of like-minded people you would want to be around to sharpen those skills. Given COVID, this may be even easier than before – reach out and find these people online with the scenius intention in mind, nothing else.

Idea #2: SCAMPER

Themes: creativity, ideation, productivity

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SCAMPER is a robust ideation technique used to help spark new creative ideas. SCAMPER stands for: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse. When trying to come up with new ideas to develop or improve a product or service, try applying each of these verbs. For example, McDonalds improved its checkout service by reversing the flow (pay before eat), and substituting cashiers with touch screen kiosks.

Action item: think of a product or service you are actively working on and apply SCAMPER to the different attributes of the problem.

Idea #3: And/Or

Themes: procrastination, productivity

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The And/Or trick states that if you have a list of conditions you need to have met before you do something, you're less likely to do the task. For example, I will go on a run when it is nice outside and I am feeling limber and I have time and I want to. By changing those "and" clauses to "or" we reduce the conditions necessary to complete the task, and therefore have a higher likelihood of completing them.

Action item: think of your toughest todo item today. Lay out all the conditions you need to get it done, a nice long list in "and" statements. Then, switch them out for "or" and see how many of the conditions are not hard dependencies.


Create your best work by finding like-minded people in a scenius, apply SCAMPER to tactically create new ideas, and use the and/or trick to move past procrastination to produce more.