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A skunkworks project is a project developed by a small and loosely structured group of people who research and develop a project primarily for the sake of radical innovation.

It is an especially enriched environment that is intended to help a small group of individuals design a new idea by escaping routine organizational procedures. The research and development (R&D) workers in a skunkworks are usually specially selected, given special resources, and work on a crash basis to create an innovation.

What if there is no managerial approval, and one individual embarks on a (legal) project during their own time, in secret (since there is no formal approval) with the intent of bringing about radical innovation?

Is there a name for such a project?

Some successful examples would be interesting.

closed as too broad by user9158, gnat, Vietnhi Phuvan, Justin Cave, Jan Doggen Nov 28 '14 at 8:30

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Volunteering? Since you are presumably doing your real job at the same time. (Or a problem if it is secret because it isn't allowed) – Jeanne Boyarsky Nov 28 '14 at 0:26
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_operation would come to mind for an idea. – JB King Nov 28 '14 at 1:02
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    -1 This is a very loosely defined list question. – user9158 Nov 28 '14 at 2:45
  • @Lego: How about you ignore the list part if you hate lists, and instead let people answer the main question, Is there a name for such a project? – Dan Dascalescu Nov 28 '14 at 2:52
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    A personal skunkworks project? – pi31415 Nov 28 '14 at 2:54
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A skunkworks project implies a team taken out of formal structures, but still with some form of oversight within an organisation.

If you are doing things on your own time, that would be called a "personal project".

  • Makes sense. "Personal project" though suggests something unrelated to the main business, and not sanctioned either as was Google's now defunct 20% time. – Dan Dascalescu Nov 28 '14 at 3:09
  • Are you officially getting time off for this project, or are you doing it in your own time? – user9158 Nov 28 '14 at 3:10
  • Own time, as mentioned. – Dan Dascalescu Nov 28 '14 at 3:58
  • Well, then it is just a "personal project". It might be beneficial to the company, it might not. They have no vested interest if it fails, maybe not even if it works. – user9158 Nov 28 '14 at 3:59
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    Look at it like this, if I do unpaid work on my own time that might help the Army, I don't get to call it a "military project" or call myself a "defence contractor". If the people you are doing it for aren't sanctioning it, then using a term that suggests they do is dishonest and has potential legal implications. – user9158 Nov 28 '14 at 4:01

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