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This information is intended to convey the underlying concepts for Reclamation's decision processes. It is not mandatory.
See the Reclamation Manual for official Reclamation-wide requirements.

Reclamation's Decision Process Guide


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This is probably the tool you will use the most. Brainstorming helps generate lists of ideas, options, issues, steps needed, etc. Brainstorm throughout the process to jump-start a stalled process, ensure that bases are covered, and gather comments. While the results are hodgepodge, the process allows uninhibited participation. When carefully documented, some surprising opportunities often emerge.

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The two P's of brainstorming:

1. Preference.--Brainstorming may produce a new view that can help support or fine tune the objectives while helping to construct the basis for future consent building.

2. Priority.--Brainstorming may establish a different sense of priority. Identifying and resolving such differences will greatly enhance the decision process.

Brainstorming is a no-holds barred, nonjudgmental explosion of ideas, concepts, policies, decisions, and strategies--structural as well as nonstructural; Federal as well as non-Federal. All contributions are valid. The key is to get as many ideas as possible without evaluating them. Sort out ideas later--and remember that sometimes two opposing ideas can work together to form a reasonable alternative.

Brainstorming can be used independently or with other tools such as influence diagrams and public involvement. Brainstorming can also be an informal event. Have paper and pencil ready whenever team members get together.

Rules of Brainstorming:

big brainstorm

  • Keep it fast, furious, and short.
  • Combine and build on each other's ideas.
  • Write down everything.
  • Encourage wild ideas. Say whatever comes to mind.
  • Generate as much as possible. Save quality for later.
  • Save criticisms for the evaluation stage.


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Please contact Deena Larsen 303-445-2584 with questions or comments on this material.