A few weeks ago we wrote an article on built-in options for launching applications in OS X, which included creating a quick-launch or Windows "Run" equivalent with Automator, using Spotlight, and also using an application folder stack in the Dock. One reader e-mailed us about another option that we overlooked in the article, which is to use a Finder window's toolbar for launching applications.
Just like the Dock, you can drag applications, folders, and documents to the Finder toolbar and place them in, among, or next to the default tools. From here they act just like buttons that will link to the respective application.
The drawbacks to using this are that it can clutter your Finder window toolbar; however, there may be a few instances where it is exceptionally useful, the foremost being the use of file and folder management utilities.
I often will use the Terminal to perform functions on the file system, but I like using the Finder to navigate because it offers different views and quick access to information. To easily get to the current Finder location in the Terminal I use a small program called "cd to" (available for free at Sourceforge), which opens the Terminal and navigates to the most current Finder directory.
Placing this utility in the Finder toolbar allows me to easily access any directory in the Finder and quickly by clicking the window and clicking the link to the "cd to" utility. There may be other utilities or uses for this feature of the Finder toolbar, so keep it in mind as an alternative location for items when organizing your Mac.