Lyndon Sundmark, MBA first coined the term Skunkworks for HR Analytics. It is a concept fundamental in getting the HR Analytics going.
The term has been in use for quite some time at least in the North American lingo. Often used to describe low key projects that don’t see recognition until something looks promising – ie informal prototype or proof of concept.
A skunkworks project often operates independent of a company’s normal research and development operations and therefore is subject to limitations in resources. Projects often are undertaken in secret with the understanding that if the development is successful then the product will be designed later according to the usual process.
Origins of the term
The phrase originated in 1943, during World War II, when Lockheed Corporation built America’s first operational jet fighter. The phrase, used then as an informal nickname, comes from “Skonk Works” the Kickapoo Joy Juice bootleg brewing operation in Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner” comic strip. The following description from lockheedmartin.com, explains the story behind the name:
A team engineer named Irv Culver was a fan of Al Capp’s newspaper comic strip, “Li’l Abner”. There was a running joke about a mysterious and malodorous place deep in the forest called the “Skonk Works”. There, a strong beverage was brewed from skunks, old shoes and other strange ingredients.
One day, Culver’s phone rang and he answered it by saying “Skonk Works”. Fellow employees quickly adopted the name for their mysterious division of Lockheed. “Skonk Works” became “Skunk Works”.
Skunkworks® and the Skunk Logo are registered trademarks in the United States and in many other countries. The marks are still owned by Lockheed Martin Corporation. They were first used during World War II and are still used today. These marks represent the goodwill associated with the birthplace of many famous aircraft.
Legal notice: The squirrel is a registered logo of Lockheed Martin