Idea development – LA – Q2

Week 2

Question 2 – Research and written assignment

Use the Internet to research the history of the fast food chain McDonald’s and explain which parts of the SCAMPER model are evident in its development onto its current success.

Alex Osborn, a pioneer teacher of creativity, first identified the nine principle ways of manipulating a subject. Bob Eberle later arranged them into the SCAMPER method:

Substitute something
Combine it with something else
Adapt something to it
Modify or Magnify it
Put to other uses
Eliminate something
Reverse or Rearrange it

Substitute something

  • French fries and milkshakes replaced potato chips and pie in 1949.

Combine it with something else

  • The Happy Meal, a menu for children, was introduced in 1979. It combined a meal and a toy.

Adapt something to it

  • The company has adapted to the customers’ and society’s wishes and needs over the years.
    • For example, in the first Macdonald’s restaurants in the ’50s, ketchup was reserved for hamburgers and cheeseburgers. French fries were meant to be eaten alone, but Macdonald’s customers frequently asked for the sauce for their fries. The firm ended up creating “The Dunk Cup”, a small cup containing ketchup to serve with the food when requested.
    • In Arab countries, the restaurant chain introduced halal menus, which complied with Islamic laws for food preparation. In the same way, McDonald’s offers Big Mac made with lamb instead of beef in India.
    • In order to offer a healthier meal option, salads were added to the menu.
    • In 2018 McDonald’s announced that plastic drinking straws would be banned in the UK and Ireland restaurants.
  • Early on, McDonald’s defined the quality, service and cleanliness guidelines that all franchisees continue to follow to this day.

Modify it

  • In 1948 the restaurant’s name was changed from “McDonald’s Bar-B-Que” to simply “McDonald’s”.
  • Shortly after, the architecture of the building was modified as well – The “Red and White” design and the “Golden Arches” where introduced.

Magnify it

  • Even though the menu initially was reduced to a few items, new ones have been added during the years, such as chicken nuggets, breakfast options or ice cream.
  • The chain has grown from only one restaurant in San Bernardino, California, to over 36.000 worldwide.

Put to other uses

  • The Ronald McDonald House Charities is an independent non-profit organization whose stated mission is to create, find, and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. The first house was opened in 1974 as a way to give “something back into the community where you do business”.


  • Besides changing their name, one of the most significant early changes in the company was to reduce the menu from 25 items, mostly barbeque, to a simple one of only 9.

Rearrange it

  • In 1948, the McDonald’s brothers rearranged their kitchen and set it up like an assembly line to ensure maximum efficiency.


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