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Small business fix-it squads

Innovation image
An innovation provided by

David Colahan

Published On: 03 April 2017

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Organisation: Australian Taxation Office

Country: Australia

Level of government: Central government

Sector: Economic affairs

Type: Communication, Methods, Public Service

Launched in: 2014

Overall development time: 4 month(s)

Small business fix-it squads are rapid-design projects where small business owners, tax professionals, federal, state and local government agencies and intermediaries work together to examine problems affecting small business owners. The squad then develops recommendations to fix the problem. Our innovation is unique in that it brings together all levels of government to reduce the regulatory burden on small business. Small business are at the heart of the methodology and our approach delivers solutions designed by small business.

Why the innovation was developed

  • We needed a way to reshape the way Government offers services to small business. We work with small business and governments at all levels to reshape service offerings in a way that makes it easier and cheaper for small business.


Enhance public trust, Improve efficiency, Improve service quality, Improve user satisfaction, Increase citizen engagement

Main beneficiaries




Service quality


User satisfaction

Other improvements

Results not available yet


The idea was generated out work sponsored by, the Secretaries Board of the Australian Public Service approved a DesignGov project investigating how to dramatically improve the interaction between business and government.Design time: 1 month(s)


  • A pilot squad was run prior to full implementation.
Testing time: 1 month(s)


Tools used:
  • Our methodology requires no specific technology. Critical to it's success is a commitment from agencies involved to deliver on the outcomes that arise from the squad.
Resources used:
  • Currently we run 3 squads a year with full time staff of around 5 officers.
Implementation time: 6 month(s)


A wide range of government agencies at different levels. Representatives from industry groups, business and professional associations.
Academics and Research Bodies, Other Public Sector, Private sector
Partners were involved in the squad and were involved in design of the solutions

Lessons Learned

  • Collaboration across government combined with user centred design can dramatically improve the interaction between business and government.

Conditions for success

  • Leadership across government, willingness to collaborate, some policy flexibility, and a commitment to drive through to completion.