Introducing Systemic Design into the Largest Australian Government Design Function

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
Posted October 2020 content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 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) (20XX). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSDX) Symposium.