The ability to differentiate is a dwindling art. Every app these days copies the other apps, and many companies take their cue from their competition. This, in our opinion, is the wrong way to go about success.
At the California College of Arts, we're learning to approach business a different way. Our chair Andy Dong calls it differentiated heterogeneity, in other words, doing the work to understand what sets you apart from from everyone else doing exactly what you're doing. This isn't marketing, it isn't content, and it isn't finance. This is design strategy, solved by speaking to your customers and not only giving them what they want but also anticipating those needs beyond empathy, beyond trends, and beyond intuition.
Creating insights like these takes a design minded approach to the bigger problem of creation and growth. We need to be the kind of leaders and strategists that ask questions before providing answers. Questions like why, how, and what will my customers do with what I create? Solving for need is what designers have been doing for years. Isn't it time the business world caught up?