By Alan Murray and Geoffrey Smith
December 22, 2017

Good morning.

We tend to think technology is the source of lasting value in today’s world. But there are other companies—Google rockets to mind, or even Microsoft—that are stronger technology companies than Apple. And Apple is certainly not distinguished by manufacturing prowess—it outsources that. Nor does it dominate distribution networks—Amazon is king in that space.

No, what makes Apple Apple is something else: Design—the ability to create products and services that continually delight customers and help them bring order and coherence to the chaos of the digital world. And it is arguably that ability to design that has become the most important source of lasting competitive advantage in today’s hyper-connected, hyper-competitive economy.

In recognition of that, the January issue of Fortune shines a spotlight on 25 companies that excel at design. Apple is certainly one of them, and our story—Has Apple Lost its Design Mojo?explores how long that design edge can last. Others on our list range from shoemaker Nike to medical equipment maker Philips to banker Capital One to soft drink maker Pepsi. You can find the full list here.

For those eager to delve deeper into design thinking, Fortune and its sister publications, TIME and Wallpaper*, will be hosting a gathering of the world’s best design minds, called Brainstorm Design, in Singapore on March 6-8. You can learn more about the event here. Attendance is by invitation only, but as always, CEO Daily readers will be given special consideration. If you are interested in attending, shoot me an email.

More news below. CEO Daily will be dark next week, as we enjoy time with our families, but back in full force on January 2. Have a great holiday!

Other news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

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