Introducing Systemic Design into the Largest Australian Government Design Function

Format: Papers, RSD9, Topic: Methods & Methodology

Misha Kaur

Australian Taxation Office / Doctoral Candidate, UNSW Australia


Researchers and practitioners alike are in general agreement that the public sector is increasingly tasked with managing ‘complex problems’. Many authors have warned that the established practices in government are not sufficient to deal with such problems. The integration of systems thinking in design practice has been advocated as a promising approach to understand and more effectively deal with the increasing complexity of societal challenges. However, the literature on systemic design largely remains in the academic and theoretical discussions. In 2020, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has pioneered the development and implementation of systemic design as an enterprise design approach. This article outlines practice insights into the ATO’s systemic design framework, including its applications to a range of initiatives, including the stimulus measures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It discusses early insights into considerations of implementing systemic design at scale. Future research should focus on the implementation factors that may enable or inhibit its successful adoption.

systemic design Australian government




Citation Data

Author(s): Author: Misa Kaur
Title: Introducing Systemic Design into the Largest Australian Government Design Function
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Article No.:
Symposium Dates:
First published: 4 October 2020
Last update:
Publisher Identification:

Copyright Information

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested citation format (APA)

Author(s). (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD##. Article ##.

Publishing with RSD

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design are published online and include the contributions for each format.

Papers and presentations are entered into a single-blind peer-review process, meaning reviewers see the authors’ names but not vice versa. Reviewers consider the quality of the proposed contribution and whether it addresses topics of interest or raises relevant issues in systemic design. The review process provides feedback and possible suggestions for modifications.

The Organising Committee reviews and assesses workshops and systems maps & exhibits with input from reviewers and the Programme Committee.

Editor: Cheryl May
Peter Jones
Ben Sweeting

The Scholars Spiral

In 2022, the Systemic Design Association adopted the scholars spiral—a cyclic non-hierarchical approach to advance scholarship—and in 2023, launched Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal. Together, the RSD symposia and Contexts support the vital emergence of supportive opportunities for scholars and practitioners to publish work in the interdisciplinary field of systemic design.

The Systemic Design Association's membership ethos is to co-create the socialization and support for all members to contribute their work, find feedback and collaboration where needed, and pursue their pathways toward research and practice outcomes that naturally build a vital design field for the future.


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