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Dumbo Feather

Dumbo Feather Issue 55

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Dumbo Feather is an iconic Australian magazine. Published quarterly for seven years, and hailed around the world as a design leader, it is a magazine like no other. Our readers are people who want to be told a different story than the one they hear every day. Each quarterly issue features five extended (20 page) profiles of people worth knowing, across enterprise, education, science, sport, politics, fashion and the arts. Whether they’ve touched millions, or just those around them, we take the time to get to know these people, and ask them to tell us their stories.

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3 Edities

in deze editie

6 min.
the midwife and the hospice worker

The burst of colour from the prayer flags contrasted against the natural hues of the mountain scenery. A second look revealed thousands more flags that had faded to white. Deep in the Himalayan mountains, in the remote Kingdom of Bhutan, people had been hiking to Tiger’s Nest monastery for centuries, bringing their dreams, fears and questions with them. On that hike, like so many others, people place coloured flags on the journey with prayers written on them, to be read by the wind and delivered to the spirits. The newer the flags, the brighter the colours. At some point, when the colours are completely gone, the flags disappear, taken down by a passing monk, ripped from the trees by the wind and rain, or falling victim to the ravages of…

2 min.
make change happen

JUST DO YOUR JOB In the old model, the original model of industrial work, your job was to do your job. Making change was someone else’s work. It’s impossible to overstate how essential this mantra was to just about every large organisation. “It’s not your job to ask why, it’s your job to do precisely what I said.” The company did the thinking, and you did the work. The problem with that approach is that companies aren’t nearly as good at thinking as people are. And that during times of change, we need the people near the problem to be working hard at solving it. Recently, leaders began to realise that, “Think for yourself” was incompatible with, “Think what I tell you to think.” It turns out that giving up the care and insight of everyone…

6 min.
radical reciprocity

For the past 10 years, I have cultivated a community that supports my most essential human needs with limited exchange of money. Sometimes called the barter and gift economy, sometimes called family, I call it “radical reciprocity.” I came to this lifestyle not long after college, when I moved back to my hometown of Petaluma, California to take up a residential farm internship. In exchange for agricultural training, I laboured. The trade felt equitable and mutualistic and I became hooked on bartering for the basics. I saw viscerally how, when practiced with care and consideration, non-monetary exchange could yield more than the sum of its parts. These days, I rarely go to the grocery store. Instead I meet my caloric needs in other ways, including work-trade at the place that I live—a…

7 min.
the purpose of capital

For many of us who care about living in a just and sustainable world, this past year has been a trial by fire. Many feel we are called to resist and indeed we are. I find myself reflecting on the various forms of resistance available to us and the many ways we are called to place our bodies against the cogs of capitalism to challenge, to change, to redirect the forces our society has unleashed on the world. For many people, resistance means taking to the streets to physically manifest our opposition to the tide that is rising—and threatening to sink all boats. For some, resistance comes in the form of taking a knee. And for others, resistance means engaging in political advocacy directed at those in capitals at the national,…

3 min.
human beings, not human doings

Doing my MBA while working at Small Giants for the past four years was a bit like being stuck between two worlds. Two economies, to be precise. The old and the new. We often refer to the work we do at Small Giants as the new economy. For us that means doing self-work to be more empathetic, shifting capital for impact, developing properties that support people and planet. It means aligning business with heart. And one of the best bits about doing an MBA is that it’s black and white. Maths! Accounting! Operations! Am I losing you? They have right and wrong answers. When we live in the questions (as we often do at Small Giants), it’s nice to have a simple answer. That said, walking into business school often felt…

21 min.
muhammad yunus revolutionised banking

I first came across the work of Professor Muhammad Yunus in 2009 when a friend gave me a copy of his book, Creating a World Without Poverty. I read it at a time of transition, having just moved to the Middle East to start a job helping set up an office of an international company in a young country. It was with the backdrop of this fledgling economy, where the promises of capitalism and development were alive and strong, that I heard Professor Yunus’ clarion call: “What if you could harness the power of the free market to solve the problems of poverty, hunger and inequality?” His answer was clear, yes we can, and his book was filled with examples of how a more humane version of capitalism could manifest.…