Analysis of Design Thinking within the Australian Taxation Office

This assignment is based on the original article “Design and Taxes: a case study on design thinking in the Australian Taxation Office” (2015) by Di Russo. Reference should also be made to the following two additional articles: These are:

  • “Design in the Australian Taxation Office” by John Body (2007)
  • “User centred information design practices and processes at the Australian Taxation Office” by Martin, Gregor and Rice (2008.



The Australian Taxation Office has become a global leader in applying design thinking in public services and is an example of how capabilities can be created to enable a designerly approach in large and complex governmental organisations. The Australian Taxation Office has championed design thinking for nearly 20 years (York, Wicks-Green & Golsby-Smith, 2010). It is the longstanding commitment towards cultivating a design culture that makes the Australian Taxation Office (henceforth ATO) an appropriate case to examine for this paper.

The ATO is an exemplar of design thinking in complex environments due to the inherent wickedness involved in both designing taxation solutions for the nation and designing within a system that hosts over 20 thousand employees (Australian Taxation Office, 2013, p. 5). Additionally, designing with a broad network of inter-disciplinary stakeholders from various backgrounds and departments provide a challenging and complex environment for design thinking practice.


The Assignment Task

  1. This requires writing and submission of a case study.
  2. This should be an account of a matter after consideration / investigation.
  3. You must reflect on how the problem-solving process of design thinking was implemented into the ATO.
  4. Analyse the process(s) undertaken.
  5. Were the five stages of design thinking followed? If not, where and why?
  6. Were appropriate tools applied? If not, where and why?
  7. Discuss levels of engagement, teamwork, sharing of knowledge and ideas.
  8. Evaluates the overall level of success.
  9. The report needs to inform the reader of the critical points along the ATO implementation journey.
  10. Discuss positives and negatives of the process the ATO followed\.
  11. Mention any significant observation(s) made.
  12. Highlight any of the 5 design thinking steps that stood out and the reasons why
  13. Consider future actions to be taken by the ATO.
  14. The report should also highlight the innovation that occurred.
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