Skunkworks: Facilitating Innovation to Solve Health Care Problems

What is Skunkworks?

Skunkworks, a unique innovation event series hosted by Providence Research in partnership with St. Paul's Foundation, aims to develop a culture of innovation at Providence Health Care by applying design thinking to find answers to complex local problems with global relevance, and by bridging the gap between diverse individuals with the goal of solving problems in health care.

The term "skunkworks" originated in the 1940s as an alias for an American engineering lab that worked on top-secret and innovative programs at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. Today, the word “skunkworks” describes a project developed by a loosely structured group of people who identify issues and pilot creative solutions.

Find out more about our previous Skunkworks events below, and stay tuned for future events and announcements. 

Skunkworks: Hacking Aging 

Empowering aging through innovation - solving the most pressing challenges facing the older population.

Save the date! Our third annual Skunkworks event will take place on October 12-13, 2023.

This event shines a spotlight on older adults with complex medical and social needs in long-term care, acute care, and the emergency department. Hosted by Providence Research in partnership with St. Paul’s Foundation, this unique 1.5-day mixing of minds will bring multidisciplinary teams together and empower them to develop patient centered solutions that will improve the lives of older adults by providing mentorship and rapid problem solving tools.

Here is what else you can look forward to:

  • Prizes available to winning teams.
  • Network with influential mentors and judges from innovation and entrepreneurship who are passionate about health care.
  • Have fun learning, creating and team building with health care professionals, researchers, students and patients.

NOTE: Registration is limited to Providence Health Care, Providence Research, staff from partnering health authorities affiliated academic partners, and patient partners. Exceptions may be made by the organizing team on an individual basis.

Stay tuned: Registration will go live in the Spring. Email to received the latest updates.

We hope to see you there!

Skunkworks: Hacking Wounds 

Skunkworks: Hacking Wounds, the second annual Skunkworks event, occurred on September 22-23, 2022. It was designed to tackle the challenges faced by patients and communities when dealing with wounds, both in Canada and around the globe, and brought together a diverse group of people to find solutions to this significant health issue. 

Skunkworks Event Featured in Hospital News

Watch the video from Skunkworks: Hacking Wounds

“Somebody gets hurt, we’re there, to lift up the hearts and the minds, so they heal.” Musqueam Knowledge Keeper Sulksun (Shane Pointe) opened the event, which took place on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Coast Salish People, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. “The most beautiful word, for me, in Coast-Salish language is nuts amaht. Nuts amaht simply means ‘we are one.’”

“I believe that the best way to deal with challenges is to get the best, brightest and most diverse minds that we can get in rooms like this, and let them loose to ideate and come up with solutions,” said Dr. Darryl Knight, president of Providence Research, in an address he gave at the welcome on the first day. 

Read a full recap of the event here.

Thank you to all Skunkworks: Hacking Wounds participants, mentors and judges for attending the event. We'll see you next year!



Skunkworks: Hacking Pain 2021 

Skunkworks: Hacking Pain was our inaugural Skunkworks event. Find out more here.

Interested in helping out? You can partner with us, become a sponsor, or sign up to be a mentor!  Email


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If you are interested in learning more about future sponsorship opportunities, please contact:

Peter McLoughlin
Manager, Corporate Partnerships