A skunkworks project is a project developed by a small group of people who research and develop a project primarily for the sake of radical innovation. The terms originated with Lockheed’s World War II Skunk Works project.
The designation “skunk works”, or “skunkworks”, is widely used in business, engineering, and technical fields to describe a group within an organization given a high degree of autonomy and unhampered by bureaucracy, tasked with working on advanced or secret projects.
Need to make a fighter plane (or another, less martial product) on limited time and tight deadlines? … Over the years, the term Skunk Works has come to refer to any effort involving an elite special team that breaks away from the larger organization to work autonomously on an advanced or secret project.