In the world of technology and gadgets, "design" today has to do with human-computer interaction. It's becoming the key differentiator between success stories and also-rans (witness the popularity of YouTube, with it's easy-to-use share/embed features, versus other video websites, or the dominance of the iPod).
This article on CNET pionts to the growing emphasis on design over algorithms in educating the next generation of technology developers (it's not the tech, it's the culture).
Undergraduate and graduate computing programs are also answering the demand. AnnaLee Saxenian, dean of the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley, said in an interview late last year that the ubiquity of the Internet, along with the globalization of technology industry, has prompted the need for a new generation of engineers with broader skills. In recent years, Berkeley's school began requiring engineering students to learn human-computer interaction skills.
I guess this is a recurring theme: technology and culture are merging, which calls for designers and thinkers that can translate from one world to the other. Here's how John Maeda calls it (make sure to subscribe to his weblog, it's great)
there's "a need for hybrid people, who can put together a mean car and pimp it out, too. This is the holy grail of this new generation. Schools are changing slowly to adopt this model of education."