Luke Wroblewski attended the Overlap unconference and reports in this post some interesting thoughts on design and business. Among the points made, this one rings true: the importance of design has grown in direct proportion to information overload.
I believe design holds sense-making possibilities because it corresponds with an internal data processing mechanism. To use a perfectly good word, machines ordinate information. In the process of holding it before our eyes and hearts for inspection, we, rather, coordinate it.