Why Design & Innovation is the next frontier?

Okay..Maybe far too much ink has bled on this topic, but this post on businessweek had me thinking. Yes, we seem to be talking more & more about design & innovation, but why now?

Hmm..Maybe Wal-Mart is loosing customer to Target because they have redesigned the end user experience. Maybe the american auto manufacturers are loosing to imports because they are not usually associated with innovations (or perceptions of it) in areas from quality to fuel economy. Or maybe Microsoft is not considered hip by a college student because the design & visual experience of an apple just makes it look clunky.

For these iconoclastic companies, the realization that design & innovation can be a competitive advantage has probably struck home, even if, a little late.