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Isn't that just a lack of clear goals? Skunkworks had extremely ambitious deliverables and was not a science lab, even though they helped develop a lot of new technology.

I think that's a part of it but there's also the question of how they interface with everyone else. IME a lot of these teams end up working in isolation from everyone else. And the patronage of the team usually makes them somewhat untouchable or unquestionable.

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