The distinctive name "skunkworks" originated during World War II when the P-80 Shooting Star was designed by Lockheed’s Advanced Development Projects Division in Burbank, California. Today a "skunkworks project" often operates with a high degree of autonomy and is unhampered by bureaucracy. It is typically developed by a small and loosely structured group of people who research and develop a project primarily for the sake of radical innovation. It might be surprising, therefore, to learn that the UK Government has created an IT Skunkworks.
The Government Skunkworks has been established to develop low-cost, fast and agile ICT solutions. It is a significant part of the Governments strategy for levelling the procurement playing field by providing a new channel for SMEs and entrepreneurs to participate in government ICT with new and innovative solutions. Skunkworks is working to develop an environment for SMEs to test their solutions to ensure compatibility within government’s future standardised cloud environment.
By adopting and agile methodology, actively working with SMEs and using open standards and open source technology the Governments skunkworks will bring the advantages of open development and open innovation to Government systems. In this special plenary session Mark O'Neill will discuss how and why the Government created a skunkworks environment.