The butt of the ham

Author: Nigel Sielegar
Written on 02.05.2018

I heard this funny anecdote a while back and I can’t seem to recall where or whom I heard it from (if you know, please send us a note). Here’s how the story goes: 

There was a lady who liked to make baked ham--you know, the kind you see during Thanksgiving that’s beautifully glossy from the honey glaze. However, every time she made a baked ham, she always cut the butt of the ham. One day she asked herself, why does she have to cut the butt of the ham off and throw it away? What would happen if she just baked the entire ham? So she did, and she found out that the butt of the ham is actually the juiciest and the most delicious part of a baked ham.
She realized that the reason why she cut the butt of the ham off is because her mom used to do it that way. To find out why, she called her mom and asked, ”Mom, why do you always cut the butt of the ham?” To which her mom answered, ”Because grandma used to do it that way.”
Curious with the response, she called her grandma, and asked the same question: ”Grandma, why do you always cut of the butt of the ham?” To which her grandma answered, ”Because my oven is small, and I have a small tray. The ham just doesn’t fit!”

This short anecdote might sound funny to most of us. However, this type of situation happens more often than we realize it to be. A lot of the systems we rely on today are still based upon conditions that happened decades ago. We cut art and music classes out of school because our industrial mindset still thinks that other subjects have more merit. We see record labels fold because they don’t realize the shift in how people purchase music. Let’s not forget our beloved USPS that hasn’t been able to cover its annual budget since 2007

We are in the era where creativity and critical thinking are a lot more valuable as a skill than ever before. Truth be told, constant routine is incredibly persuasive. However, from time to time, it’s wise for us to rethink the way we do things. On some level, aren’t we all in the business of innovation?  


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