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THE SECRETS TO
CREATING A KILLER
SKUNKWORKS
uring World War II, the

aerospace giant Lockheed
created a remote incubator to 

tackle the war’s most critical 

tasks. ...
THE NEW REMOTE OFFICE was
intentionally located in a circus tent next 

to an exceptionally stinky plastics factory 

(to ...
The small team inside the stinky 

tent designed and built America's 

first jet fighter in just 143 days, 

and created a...
TODAY,
“GOING SKUNK”
is often used to describe an especially
enriched environment that is intended 

to help a small group...
“IT IS
BETTER 

TO BE A
PIRATE
THAN JOIN 

THE NAVY.
— STEVE JOBS
”
WHEN IT COMES
TO FOSTERING
BOLDINNOVATION...
Why is it better to be a pirate?
Why does the skunk methodology
consistently foster such great results?
And most important...
S K U N K S E C R E T # 1
BIG 

GOALS
They are created to tackle
the Herculean, purposefully 

built around what
psychologists call
“HIGH, HARD
GOALS.”
It’s the...
If you want the largest increase 

in motivation and productivity, then
BIG GOALS lead to the 

BEST OUTCOMES.
BIG GOALS s...
It comes down to ATTENTION 

and PERSISTENCE — which are 

two of the most important factors 

in determining performance....
THE RESULT is...
Because the practice focuses attention & increases
motivation, BY SETTING BIG GOALS WE’RE ACTUALLY
HELPIN...
S K U N K S E C R E T # 2
ISOLATION
WALL THE

skunk works 

off from the rest 

of the corporate
bureaucracy.
ISOLATION
stimulates risk taking,
encouraging id...
ORGANIZATIONAL INERTIA IS
the notion that once any company achieves
success, its desire to develop and champion
radical ne...
ORGANIZATIONAL INERTIA IS
FEAR OF FAILURE WRIT LARGE. IT IS
THE REASON:
Kodak didn’t
recognize the
brilliance of the
digit...
Just as the 

successful skunk works
isolates the innovation team
from the greater organization,
successful entrepreneurs ...
In any organization the bulk of your people will be
climbing the hill they’re standing on. That’s what you
want them to do...
S K U N K S E C R E T # 3
RAPID
ITERATION
(FAST FEEDBACK)
and this means having a strategy in place to 

handle risk and learn from mistakes is critical.
If you’re looking for a qu...
BOLD
VENTURES
— ESPECIALLY THE
WORLD-CHANGING TYPE
WE’RE ADVOCATING HERE,
REQUIRE A KIND OF
EXPERIMENTAL
APPROACH
INSTEAD OF LAUNCHING A FINELY
POLISHED GEM, COMPANIES NOW:
Release a “minimum viable product,” 

then get immediate feedba...
TRYING OUT CRAZY IDEAS
means bucking expert opinion and 

taking big risks. It means not being 

afraid to fail. Because y...
S K U N K S E C R E T # 4
INTRINSIC
REWARDS
FOR MOST OF THE LAST CENTURY, science 

focused on extrinsic rewards, that is, external
motivators, “if-then” conditions o...
UNFORTUNATELY, AN 

EVER-GROWING PILE OF RESEARCH
SHOWS THAT EXTRINSIC REWARDS
DO NOT WORK LIKE MOST SUPPOSE.
Once people’...
—meaning internal,
emotional satisfactions—
become far more critical.
THREE IN PARTICULAR STAND OUT:
AUTONOMY
the desire t...
Science shows that the 

SECRET TO HIGH PERFORMANCE
isn’t our 

Biological Drive
(survival needs),
or our 

Reward-and-

P...
THESE THREE INTRINSIC REWARDS ARE THE 

VERY MOTIVATORS THAT MOTIVATE US MOST.
...BUT OUR THIRD DRIVE—
our deep-seated des...
Since Lockheed’s massive success, everyone
from Raytheon and DuPont to Walmart and
Nordstrom has gotten in on the skunk ga...
THE SKUNK APPROACH is one of the most
successful in modern history. The same
philosophy can be applied to any business 

o...
BOLDis a visionary roadmap 

for people who believe they
can change the world—

and offers invaluable advice 

about bring...
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The Secrets To Creating A Killer Skunkworks

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Adapted from the book "Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World" by Steven Kotler and Peter H. Diamandis.

http://www.amazon.com/Bold-Create-Wealth-Impact-World/dp/1476709564/

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The Secrets To Creating A Killer Skunkworks

  1. THE SECRETS TO CREATING A KILLER SKUNKWORKS
  2. uring World War II, the
 aerospace giant Lockheed created a remote incubator to 
 tackle the war’s most critical 
 tasks. German jet fighters 
 had just appeared over Europe, 
 and America needed a counterpunch. The mission was unbelievable critical, 
 THE DEADLINE IMPOSSIBLY TIGHT. D
  3. THE NEW REMOTE OFFICE was intentionally located in a circus tent next 
 to an exceptionally stinky plastics factory 
 (to keep nosy people away). The strong smells that wafted into the tent 
 made the Lockheed R&D workers think of 
 the foul-smelling “Skunk Works” factory in 
 Al Capp’s legendary comic strip Li’l Abner.
  4. The small team inside the stinky 
 tent designed and built America's 
 first jet fighter in just 143 days, 
 and created a philosophy for 
 rapid innovation which 
 companies copy to this day. WHENEVER A COMPANY WANTED TO GO BOLD, SKUNK WAS OFTEN THE WAY INNOVATION GOT DONE.
  5. TODAY, “GOING SKUNK” is often used to describe an especially enriched environment that is intended 
 to help a small group of individuals 
 design a new idea by escaping routine 
 organizational procedures.
  6. “IT IS BETTER 
 TO BE A PIRATE THAN JOIN 
 THE NAVY. — STEVE JOBS ”
  7. WHEN IT COMES TO FOSTERING BOLDINNOVATION...
  8. Why is it better to be a pirate? Why does the skunk methodology consistently foster such great results? And most important, what does this have to do with today’s entrepreneur and a desire to tackle the BOLD? TURNS OUT, PLENTY.
  9. S K U N K S E C R E T # 1 BIG 
 GOALS
  10. They are created to tackle the Herculean, purposefully 
 built around what psychologists call “HIGH, HARD GOALS.” It’s the difficult
 nature of those
 goals that is actually
 the first secret 
 to skunk success. COMPANIES DO NOT GO SKUNK FOR BUSINESS AS USUAL.
  11. If you want the largest increase 
 in motivation and productivity, then BIG GOALS lead to the 
 BEST OUTCOMES. BIG GOALS significantly outperform small goals, medium-sized 
 goals, and vague goals.
  12. It comes down to ATTENTION 
 and PERSISTENCE — which are 
 two of the most important factors 
 in determining performance. BIG 
 GOALS help focus attention, and they make us more persistent.
  13. THE RESULT is... Because the practice focuses attention & increases motivation, BY SETTING BIG GOALS WE’RE ACTUALLY HELPING OURSELVES ACHIEVE THOSE BIG GOALS. we’re much more effective when we work, and we’re much more willing to get up and try again when we fail. 1 2
  14. S K U N K S E C R E T # 2 ISOLATION
  15. WALL THE
 skunk works 
 off from the rest 
 of the corporate bureaucracy. ISOLATION stimulates risk taking, encouraging ideas weird and wild, and acting 
 as a counterforce to organizational inertia. ISOLATION MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT 
 KEY TO SUCCESS IN A SKUNK WORKS.
  16. ORGANIZATIONAL INERTIA IS the notion that once any company achieves success, its desire to develop and champion radical new technologies and 
 directions is often tempered 
 by the much stronger 
 desire not to disrupt 
 existing markets 
 and lose their 
 paychecks. COMFORT 
 ZONE A BIGGER, 
 BETTER 
 OPPORTUNITY
  17. ORGANIZATIONAL INERTIA IS FEAR OF FAILURE WRIT LARGE. IT IS THE REASON: Kodak didn’t recognize the brilliance of the digital camera IBM initially dismissed 
 the personal computer America 
 Online (AOL) 
 is, well, barely online
  18. Just as the 
 successful skunk works isolates the innovation team from the greater organization, successful entrepreneurs 
 need a buffer between 
 themselves and the 
 rest of society.
  19. In any organization the bulk of your people will be climbing the hill they’re standing on. That’s what you want them to do. That’s their job. A SKUNK WORKS DOES A 
 TOTALLY DIFFERENT JOB. It’s a group of people looking for a better hill to climb. This is threatening to the rest of the organization. It just makes good sense to separate these two groups.” ‘‘ ASTRO TELLER, DIRECTOR 
 “GOOGLE X” LABORATORIES [X]
  20. S K U N K S E C R E T # 3 RAPID ITERATION (FAST FEEDBACK)
  21. and this means having a strategy in place to 
 handle risk and learn from mistakes is critical. If you’re looking for a quick & dirty understanding, try the unofficial motto of Silicon Valley: “FAIL EARLY, FAIL 
 OFTEN, FAIL FORWARD.” THE ROAD TO BOLD is paved with failure, X X X X X X
  22. BOLD VENTURES — ESPECIALLY THE WORLD-CHANGING TYPE WE’RE ADVOCATING HERE, REQUIRE A KIND OF EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH
  23. INSTEAD OF LAUNCHING A FINELY POLISHED GEM, COMPANIES NOW: Release a “minimum viable product,” 
 then get immediate feedback from customers, incorporate that feedback 
 into the next iteration, release a slightly 
 upgraded version, and repeat. Instead of design cycles that last years, 
 the agile process takes weeks and produces results directly in line with consumer expectations. THIS IS RAPID ITERATION.
  24. TRYING OUT CRAZY IDEAS means bucking expert opinion and 
 taking big risks. It means not being 
 afraid to fail. Because you will fail. “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” — REID HOFFMAN, LINKEDIN FOUNDER
  25. S K U N K S E C R E T # 4 INTRINSIC REWARDS
  26. FOR MOST OF THE LAST CENTURY, science 
 focused on extrinsic rewards, that is, external motivators, “if-then” conditions of the 
 “do this to get that” variety. WITH EXTRINSIC REWARDS, WE INCENTIVIZE 
 THE BEHAVIOR WE WANT MORE OF AND 
 PUNISH THE BEHAVIOR WE DISLIKE. For example, in business when we want to drive performance, we offer classic extrinsic rewards: 
 bonuses (money) and promotions (money & prestige).
  27. UNFORTUNATELY, AN 
 EVER-GROWING PILE OF RESEARCH SHOWS THAT EXTRINSIC REWARDS DO NOT WORK LIKE MOST SUPPOSE. Once people’s basic needs are no longer a constant cause for concern, extrinsic rewards lose their effectiveness and can CRUSH THE HIGH-LEVEL, CREATIVE, CONCEPTUAL ABILITIES THAT ARE CENTRAL to current and future economic and social progress.
  28. —meaning internal, emotional satisfactions— become far more critical. THREE IN PARTICULAR STAND OUT: AUTONOMY the desire to steer our own ship MASTERY the desire to steer it well PURPOSE the need for the journey to mean something INTRINSIC REWARDS
  29. Science shows that the 
 SECRET TO HIGH PERFORMANCE isn’t our 
 Biological Drive (survival needs), or our 
 Reward-and-
 Punishment Drive...
  30. THESE THREE INTRINSIC REWARDS ARE THE 
 VERY MOTIVATORS THAT MOTIVATE US MOST. ...BUT OUR THIRD DRIVE— our deep-seated desire to direct our 
 own lives, to extend and expand our abilities, and to fill our life with purpose.
  31. Since Lockheed’s massive success, everyone from Raytheon and DuPont to Walmart and Nordstrom has gotten in on the skunk game. ! In the early 1980s, Apple cofounder 
 Steve Jobs leased a building behind the 
 Good Earth restaurant in Silicon Valley, stocked it with twenty brilliant designers, 
 and created his own skunk works to 
 build the first Macintosh computer.
  32. THE SKUNK APPROACH is one of the most successful in modern history. The same philosophy can be applied to any business 
 or entrepreneur looking TO GO BOLD. TO ACCOMPLISH THE IMPOSSIBLE.
  33. BOLDis a visionary roadmap 
 for people who believe they can change the world—
 and offers invaluable advice 
 about bringing together patterns and technologies 
 to help them do it. — PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON Order BOLD Today!
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Adapted from the book "Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World" by Steven Kotler and Peter H. Diamandis. http://www.amazon.com/Bold-Create-Wealth-Impact-World/dp/1476709564/

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