Ever heard of the BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY (BOS)?
It's an approach to business that has generated some interesting and very successful results. For example, Cirque du Soleil, Starbucks and the Nintendo Wii were created using the Blue Ocean Strategy which, according to the BOS website, is essentially a "set of methodologies and tools to create new market space."
One of the key components at the heart of BOS methodology is the notion of differentiation. This makes sense in the business world, since companies must be able to differentiate their goods/services from their competitors in order to establish their position in the market.
If we consider the relationship between business and design, I think there's something here that we designers can apply to our way of thinking and the process by which we generate concepts and ideas. For example, BOS addresses questions such as: How do we set our ideas apart from others?; How can we create new markets?; How can we generate demand for these new markets? I think these are important questions not only in the world of business, but in the world of design, too!