- "Legend goes that one of Lockheed's engineers asked, "What the heck is Kelly [a Lockheed engineer] doing in there?" "Oh, he's stirring up some kind of brew," was the answer. This brought to mind Al Capp's popular comic strip, Li'l Abner and the hairy Indian who regularly stirred up the brew, throwing in skunks, old shoes, and other likely material to make his 'Kickapoo Joy Juice'. Thus, the skunk works was born and named."
- -George Tesar, Strategic Technology Management: Building Bridges Between Sciences (2003) p. 117.
skunkworks - Computer Definition
A project undertaken by a highly motivated group of people who are given autonomy to work without the normal company restrictions. Typically referring to projects for software or electronics that are sometimes developed in secrecy, the term was derived from the Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Program "Skunk Works" and popularized by Tom Peters and Nancy Austin in their 1984 book "A Passion for Excellence."
Variant of skunk works
- a group of engineers, scientists, etc. engaged in research and development, usually secretly or in isolation
- the division within a company or the facilities of such a group
Origin of skunk worksafter the Skonk Works, a moonshine still in Li'l Abner, American comic strip by Al Capp (pseud. of Alfred Gerald Caplin, 1909-79)