Building a Culture
One of the challenges we face in business is building a team identity, and ultimately, a company culture. We have team building exercises, mission statements, birthday cakes, and all sorts of other mechanisms in place to try to make people feel bonded to one another. The benefits of a cohesive team are innumerable, and members of a “gelled” team often feel like they can accomplish anything.
That’s challenging enough to do at a company – a simple microcosm of a country. Finland seems to be attempting to do this as a country, and at my first glance I would say succeeding at it since 1949. How? Baby boxes. Yes, expectant mothers in Finland receive a box full of baby clothes and such (or a 140 Euro stipend). Not just poor mothers, but ALL mothers. Imagine walking down the street with your decked out new born and seeing all the other new parents walking with their toddlers in the same style. It’s an instant cultural identity.
While the box alone cannot create material equality for all babies born in this country, it is only one of many benefits designed to give children a good, fair start to life. There’s no shame in using public aid that everyone accesses and there’s no statement of consumerist individuality in the clothing that all babies are wearing. The box gives us lots of fun opportunities to play baby punch buggy and it spared us more than a few shopping trips and plenty of money, but its real value lies in its message of social justice for all children.
Ok – I’m not a fan of the punch buggy game, but the rest of it makes sense to me. Babies are the future of society, why not spend a trivial amount of money starting them off right?