This article presents findings from a two-year longitudinal action, research study exploring the challenges and outcomes of attempting to develop design capability in one of Australia's largest non-profit aged-care providers. The research identifies four distinct objectives for design utilization in practice, and suggests that existing approaches for design utilization overlook non-profit organizations that seek both economic and social viability. While the objectives of realizing economic and social outcomes are addressed in design literature, there is an absence of literature detailing how non-profit organizations could utilize design to realize these outcomes. This research, therefore, contributes the non-profit design ladder—a framework to assist non-profit organizations to further develop their utilization of design and foster design as an organizational capability.

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