Say you’ve got a super high-level, complex, high-stakes, high-tech problem.

Few people in the world have the know-how to understand what you’re working on, let alone the ability to solve the problem stumping you.

You’re running out of time. You’re running out of money.

Throw in the towel?

Bring in the ferret.

I came across this story about scientists building a massive particle accelerator. It kept breaking due to tiny metal shavings inside, but they didn’t know a way to get them out cheaply and quickly. Until someone got the idea to send a ferret through. It worked.

Someone could probably turn this tiny tale (pun very much intended) into an entire business book — The Polecat Problem Methodology — which would be nauseating and stupid.

I won’t bore you belaboring lessons to be drawn from this. It’s a fun story that opens the mind to unconventional ideas, and blurs the line between precision expertise and junkyard tinkering. Apply it as you will.

No ferrets were harmed in the production of this post.