9 trumpets of creativity

This list, also known as ‘Osbourne’s List, is adapted from SCAMPER, which is an ‘an Idea Manipulation Tool to guide us in generating diverse ideas.’ Which to us is a mite confusing and a mite set in concrete. We put this list together as it a) works b) it’s a great starting point for improving your creative thinking.


You’ll see that No: 9 is ‘What if?’ The most creatively powerful two words in the English language. It’s most likely that you use these words occasionally but don’t use them in a formal sense.

It is entirely up to you how you use this list. Ignore the list and make your own tool-set for your creative endeavours if you like. Skip to ‘What if?’ Take some or all of the ideas below and mix them up. Whatever works for you, you don’t follow rules.

How to Use the 9 Trumpets

  • Take an idea, a project or even a feeling.
  • Go through each Trumpet systematically holding the idea in your head.
  • ‘Rub’ that tool against your idea and write down or record the further ideas.
  • Repeat as much as you like.
  • Add a quota.

Double up with a Quota

These ‘tools’ are powerful, but they are fragile, in the sense that they will generate some ideas. How do you double the power of the ‘9 Trumpets of Creativity?’ SImple, set a quota. When people are asked for ideas they usually return with three, four or a few more. This quota asks you to come up with:

  • 50 Ideas
  • 100 Ideas

Does it Work?

O’ yes. I’ve used it many times with great effect.

What’s going to happen is this; the first few will be inspiration, then you are going to struggle. But if you put in the graft more ideas will flow, some will be silly, some will be impractical, some will make you doubt your sanity. But along the way you’ll get some that “FIZZ”. Keep going till you have your 50 or 100.

  • Now go over your ideas and tick the ones that appeal.
  • You now have a short list.
  • From the short list pick the one that has the most ‘energy.’
  • Park the others.
  • It won’t be easy but you want to expand your imagination don’t you? Well, get it on…
Jelly Trumpet Logo

The 9 Trumpets of Creativity

1. Put to Other Uses
In what new way can I use this idea?

2. Adapt
How can I adapt this idea to make something new? What does this idea suggest?

3. Modify
What can I change, the colour, the speed, the shape etc?

4. Magnify, Minify
Make the idea bigger, make the idea smaller and what do you get?

5. Substitute
What can I use instead of this? What could this replace? Change the time, the place, the person etc.

6. Rearrange
A pattern has been made. How can you change that pattern? Can you change the order of appearance, the placement or anything else?

7. Reverse
What if this was backward? What if you started with the end?

8. Combine
Can I blend this idea with another? Can I make an assortment?

9. What if?
The two most powerfully creative words in the world. Combine with a quota, eg ask 50 – 100 what ifs?

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