What is Skunkworks?
Skunkworks refers to advanced development projects that are sometimes top secret (e.g. black projects) in technology, business, and aerospace engineering.
Skunkworks teams efficiently develop tasks with minimal administrative constraints. With a direct focus on the revolutionary change in business and technology, Skunkworks is independent, very mysterious, innovative and well funded.
A Skunkworks team often begins a project for future conventional development. Teams have few members to reduce the communication burden.
The goals of the Skunkworks team include:
- Produce quick results and commercially sustainable and high quality projects
- Empower teams and project managers beyond the standard expectations
- Build the best multidisciplinary teams
- Efficient production or further development of prototypes with marginal external support or knowledge
Lockheed Martin Corporation refers to its Skunkwork projects as "Skunk Works" and formally as the Advanced Development Program (ADP). Since the general term Skunkwork comes from Alfred Gerald Caplin's (Al Capp) Li'l Abner comic strip, Lockheed's ADP group and its logo are protected as Skunk Works.
Lockheed's original use of the term Skunkworks remains a mystery, but there is consensus that the term was first introduced during World War II by Lockheed engineers tasked with building a U.S. government fighter jet.