For several years, I have been using a process called idea mapping as a thinking tool. This is related to Mind Mapping, the brainchild of Tony Buzan. (See this page for some great examples of Mind Maps.)
I would describe idea mapping as a set of visual methods for thinking. I employ idea mapping in many kinds of settings — planning, outlining, note-taking, public speaking, writing, consulting, and leading group process. When working alone, I use unlined drawing paper and colored markers. When working with groups, I use a white board or large sheets of paper with colored markers.
Here are some books I recommend on this topic:
The Mind Map Book: How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain’s Untapped Potential, by Tony and Barry Buzan
Mapping Inner Space: Learning and Teaching Visual Mapping, by Nancy Margulies and Nusa Maal
AB — 27 February 2009