Dead Horse Theory

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation since long before the White Man reached America’s shores, says that, “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.”

This is certainly sound wisdom, if not especially profound in any way.

The “wisdom” of America’s government, however, took a different approach to the Dead Horse Theory and tends towards other responses than getting off the horse’s carcass:

  1. Changing riders
  2. Appointing a committee to study the horse
  3. Arranging trips to other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses
  4. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included
  5. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired
  6. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse
  7. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase efficiency
  8. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase dead horses performance
  9. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horses performance
  10. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some live horses
  11. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses
  12. Blaming some group for raising or buying an unfair number of live horses
  13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

Now I know that innovation is predicated upon thinking laterally and “outside of the box,” but has anyone ever managed to get where they were going by flogging a dead horse?

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