Drive your own discoveries by subscribing to ours.

The Anatomy of a Successful Skunk Works Project

by | Jan 7, 2020 | Discoveries

Share this post
I’m thrilled to announce that Differentiation Zone® has moved to RISE Collaborative Workspace!

Until now, Differentiation Zone has operated like a skunk works® within Corona Insights, the company I co-own with my husband Kevin Raines. A skunk works is not a furry friend, but slang coined by Lockheed Martin to mean an independent venture within a company that operates autonomously on advanced projects.

One of the benefits of owning a successful company is access to capital, talent, thought partners, technology and opportunities to experiment. My latest skunk works began with a eureka moment. After years of actively searching for the best approach to deliver strategic differentiation for my purpose-driven clients, I had a breakthrough. I ultimately created something of my own—a tool that embeds the customer experience in strategy development.

As a former engineer, I am familiar with the power of skunk works to drive innovation. “Skunks look beyond today’s challenges, seeing far into the future and identifying capability gaps,” says Lockheed. I can’t think of a better description for how I developed Differentiation Zone.
The anatomy of a successful skunk works project is made up of continuous learning, a focus on listening, thinking holistically, the love of a challenge and advancing the field among other qualities. Where Differentiation Zone and skunk works part ways is that I’m no longer incubating, I’ve moved on to execute my vision.

While I’ve nurtured this model for years, testing its phases in the field, I’ve formally launched this unprecedented strategic tool for purpose-driven organizations right here at RISE Collaborative Workspace—a perfect home for my start-up venture thanks to the network of invigorating businesswomen with whom I share space in the heart of central Denver and similar trajectories in our respective fields.

It’s from this new office that I’ll be unveiling weekly issues of Differentiation Zone Discoveries. Don’t worry, it’s not another long read that will weigh down your inbox. I’m a student of strategy. This is my passion, and my goal is really to bring everything that I am learning to you in real time so we can be as powerful in your mission delivery and financial success as we can.

I promise to bring you smart and snackable content that drives your own discoveries in advanced strategic thinking.

Give me a chance to turn my 10,000 hours of practical experience into learning for you, a few minutes each week.

Of course, I also hope you’ll consider engaging with me for the deeper, iterative work that leads to robust analysis of what your customers generally care about.

The Passion-Driven Pivot

The Passion-Driven Pivot

“What? You’re a Stanford-educated man. You should do something more noteworthy!” That’s the reaction I got from someone whom I told about my pivot to becoming a self-described “Soul Food Scholar.” Many others reacted similarly, especially women that I tried to date....

Stronger Together: Celebrate the Strategy

Stronger Together: Celebrate the Strategy

Corporate strategy can seem a bit esoteric or heady. It's time to make it real by connecting the dots between corporate strategy and your team's day-to-day work. In my experience, executives underestimate the importance of strategy storytelling, crafting a powerful...