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Taxpayers fund thinking caps for Swedish town's top brass

TT/The Local · 10 Nov 2009, 11:12

Published: 10 Nov 2009 11:12 GMT+01:00

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Like most of Sweden's municipalities, Laholm has been hit recently by cutbacks and has committed itself to keeping costs to a minimum. But the town's dire economic straits have not hindered the procurement of brightly coloured bucket hats, according to municipal director Kristina Kosunen-Eriksson, who initiated the move.

"This is a work tool, offering a non-traditional solution to a problem," she told newspaper Hallandsposten.

At 300 kronor each, the hats were produced locally and are specially tailored to help Laholm's leading civil servants form productive thoughts, with the different colours representing alternative modes of thinking. A yellow hat, for instance, is said to portray positive opportunities presented in a logical manner.

"At some level it has to be possible to be a bit crazy and think freely," said Kosunen-Eriksson.

"Everybody could do with a change of hat sometimes," she added.

Story continues below…

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:56 November 10, 2009 by Rick Methven
What the F****. I'm glad that I don't live in Laholm
12:08 November 10, 2009 by Tennin
They should have asked the people of Laholm if spending 18,000kr on hats was a good idea or not. I'm sure majority of them wouldn't agree with the kommun.
12:52 November 10, 2009 by cab
Unbelievable news. No wonder I am leaving Sweden soon.
13:18 November 10, 2009 by Princess P
I hope you're not heading to the UK, they did this 3 years ago. Search google for Isle of Wight council and thinking caps. They spent more too. :)
13:26 November 10, 2009 by karex
This is not a Swedish thing, it's a symptom of a very serious condition called "politican's syndrome".

All potiticians "know" that solving any problem will cost three times more than having the problem in the first place. Otherwise "the solution will never work".
13:28 November 10, 2009 by calebian22
Good grief! Fiscal responsibility must not be a productive thought.
13:49 November 10, 2009 by Åskar
I don't think it's "politician's syndrom". It seems more to be the result of hiring management/organisational consultants who come up with all sorts of innovative ideas on the expense of the taxpayers. I come across it more and more at my own workplace.
14:30 November 10, 2009 by Princess P
The scousers took it too another level. Search for Liverpool and pidgeon enforcement. Liverpool council paid a small fortune for a flock of robotic falcons that sit on roof tops and pretend to be real birds of prey in an attempt to scare off the pidgeons.
15:28 November 10, 2009 by Stormysmoker
I wonder if they'd have been so keen on the hats if they'd been paying out of their own pockets.

I'm sure that the hats will do a good job of cluttering up various desk draws and cupboards, that is before someone nicks them next summer to keep the sun off.
17:06 November 10, 2009 by coswede
should have funded toilet seats
18:42 November 10, 2009 by uunbeliever
Way to be open to new ideas readers. If only we could all be close minded and stick to the ways which don't work. Sweden needs more alternative thinkers, not less.

@Cab sounds like we don't need your type anyway, bye.
19:06 November 10, 2009 by mkvgtired
@uunbeliever, BMW M3's help me think. Will your town pay for one for me? I mean you have to be open minded about these kind of things. Hats that help you think? Give me a break, for a society that prides itself on being post-Christian you would think magical items would be a tougher sell...I guess not.
19:24 November 10, 2009 by samwise
why wouldn't this municipal director hand out these magic hats to average residents (like students)? if these magic hats can truly bring some magic power, they should be used to benefit the citizens first, instead of this municipal director and her pals.

I say let everybody have 30 cars to rotate through the month, more magic power to swedes.

Did not realise that wasting money takes some "creativity".
22:05 November 10, 2009 by Nemesis
Actually the idea of thinking hats comes from American management training consultants.

They would get everyone to sit around with different hats on to signify different thoughts.

It started in New York to the best of my knowledge a few decades ago.
22:08 November 10, 2009 by BravoTango
The least that could be done would be to make the hats attractive. The hats in the picture accompanying the article are frightfully atrocious.
07:46 November 11, 2009 by Rick Methven
Take the photo of these people with you next summer and see if they can be spotted on the beaches of Majorca!

I wonder what other Kommuns will come up with to rival this one?
08:47 November 11, 2009 by karex

It's not the idea which is at question here, it is the absurd cost. Theyc ould have asked the local sixth graders to make them hats at SEK 10 each and they would have the same effect to stimulate creativity.

This kind of behaviour is common in countries rapant with corruption. Take public tenders for instance. Many times it's not the lowest offer that wins. What ends up winning is the largest kickback...
08:51 November 11, 2009 by Princess P
Our kommun sent every single person who worked for them on a motivational/thinking cap/corporate nonsense course this year. They all got a week in Prague, paid for by us taxpayers. I wonder if they got hats too.
10:03 November 11, 2009 by Åskar
I don't think the hats as such were very expensive. The real cost is the idiot, sorry consultant, who came up with the idea.
12:14 November 11, 2009 by Skatebambi
This method is actually a well-known creative thinking process developed by Edward de Bono. I've used it at work with a couple of different groups and got good feedback on it. And I work in a company where bullsh1t is usually pointed out while it's still steaming, so no-one was brown_nosing.

I'd explain more but the majority of posters here seem pretty narrowminded so I'll not bother.

What I would say is that they went over the top with customising the hats, I use regular plain colour baseball caps at a fraction of the price and just as effective.
22:23 November 11, 2009 by uunbeliever
@mkvgtired maybe you are a little slow in the head, a BMW M3 costs just a tad more that the hat. Use your head, or lack thereof.
14:29 November 12, 2009 by Åskar
Skatebambi, perhaps nobody in those groups you worked with dared being the first to say that the emperor was naked?
00:15 November 13, 2009 by mkvgtired
Regardless of if $2600 is small by government standards, waste is waste. If you add up all the little wasteful things at the municipal level in any country I would be willing to bet most towns could buy an M3.
00:21 November 13, 2009 by samwise
if you disagree with the "open-minded", you automatically become narrow-minded.

I tend to think the ones throwing labels like "narrow-minded" don't show whole lot of open-mindedness, after all, they are not so open to the opposite views.

and since when worshiping alternatives became a virtue?

being extremely stupid is considered an alternative too?

also, there is a huge difference between wasting your own money and wasting tax payer's money. the key is ownership.

"public" means nobody cares. you don't have to experience some hardcore communism to understands it.
10:05 November 13, 2009 by Osokin
An oversized bureaucrat's salary isn't enough incentive for these guys to be creative and do their jobs. Alright.
21:25 November 13, 2009 by Aussie_Downunder
what if someone had lice?
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