Here's a reprint of an article (on the Xplane blog) I just read about a tangible tool to use visual thinking to solve problems and generate new ideas. Yellow highlights = my emphasis (i.e. parts I think are super cool).
I often jot down my bits and bytes of ideas in my journal and then later cull through it to write articles or project proposals. The key, as noted below, is to have a "tagging system" so you can "see patterns" as they emerge. I do this (in my journal) with a consistent header for each item (date, person, headline, icon) and icons that I draw next to each piece of information (star person for a person reference, book icon for a resource reference, idea balloon for a quote etc.). Also the reason blogs work so well as a place to dynamically aggregate information - "its the tagging stupid" - blogs are just the front end of a dynamic database system for gathering, tagging, and rearranging information.
Always fun to come across an article with interesting background context connecting a personal practice to something larger.