Design—and design thinking—are powerful processes that are now getting more traction in management circles. While it’s well understood that design can be used to improve products and communications, it’s less understood that it can be used to craft services, customer experiences, internal processes, organizational structures, strategic decisions, and business models.

If designing is the process of “changing an existing situation into an improved one,” as Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon defined it, then the higher up the ladder design is employed, the greater the return on investment. Using Simon’s definition, anyone in the company can be a designer, even the CEO.

Here’s an elegant slide, excerpted from The Designful Company, that illustrates the hierarchy of design leverage.

STI_Ladder_01