X汽车大奖（Automotive X Prize）的挑战看起来无法完成：造一辆可以合法上路，价格也不太离谱的车，不过油耗要低于100英里/加仑，还要尽快造出来。乔• 贾斯蒂斯不信这个邪，当然，1000万美元的奖金也令人难以拒绝。
WIKISPEED团队的成功不仅在于它本身令人印象深刻，还在于这一成功对各种规模的组织的广泛启示。在本文作者合著的《拉动力》（The Power of Pull）一书中，我们解释了深化的全球化和技术的迅速进步如何带来一个变化愈演愈烈的新的竞争格局。
Joe Justice was inspired to enter the Automotive X Prize contest in 2008 after hearing about the seemingly impossible challenge: create a road-legal, reasonably priced car that gets 100 miles-per-gallon, and build it fast. The $10 million purse didn't hurt, either.
Justice may have entered the contest alone, but it didn't stay that way for long; he began blogging and using social media to share his successes, setbacks, and lessons, and soon attracted a team of 44 passionate members from four countries excited to volunteer their time. Just like that, Team WIKISPEED was born.
As the name suggests, Team WIKISPEED is all about acceleration, and not just in the cars they build. The group of volunteers can speed up how they learn by using principles from agile software development to think through and solve complex problems. Indeed, the proof is in the results: just three months after forming, Team WIKISPEED had a working prototype that tied for 10th place in the X Prize contest's mainstream class, outlasting over a hundred other entries from all over the globe. More importantly, the competition built momentum for the team and its dream of putting ultra-efficient cars on the road at a reasonable price.
The success of Team WIKISPEED is not just impressive in its own right; it has broad implications for organizations of all sizes. In our book, The Power of Pull, we explain how increased globalization and rapid advances in technology have brought about a new competitive landscape of increasingly volatile change.
To compete, firms will have to shift their focus from simply increasing in size to increasing employee knowledge. Yet despite all the lip service paid to "talent development," many firms today struggle to meaningfully engage their employees in a way that will help them keep pace with the changing marketplace. This issue is not simply one of retention or employee satisfaction: employees who learn faster improve faster, and those who improve faster can deliver improved performance for the entire company.
To pull this off, firms should consider four principles that helped Team WIKISPEED:
Reach out to passionate people
No matter how many smart people you have at your firm, there are a lot more on the outside. Increasingly, competitive success hinges upon the ability to connect with others and take advantage of the knowledge that they can bring to the table.
New technologies like social software, cloud computing, mobility and big data provide powerful tools to increase the reach and richness of different ecosystems, helping to connect passionate people wherever they may be. Through social software platforms, Joe Justice was quickly able to assemble an army of passionate and driven individuals, which would have been very difficult otherwise. Companies have even more significant opportunities to use these technologies to extend and deepen their relationships with outside individuals and organizations.
Why the emphasis on passionate people? Passionate individuals seek out and are excited by challenges. They see these challenges as an opportunity to learn faster. They are also much more likely to identify and reach out to others who might have relevant experience, thereby helping them to reach a creative solution faster. By bringing together a larger and more diverse set of passionate people, there are more relevant experiences to draw from, and more opportunities for participants to learn from one another. As Justice puts it, "Morale is a multiplier for velocity." When tackling incredibly complex problems like building a 100 mpg vehicle, it is highly unlikely that any one person already has the answer (otherwise they might already be $10 million richer!), so the benefits of connecting with and bringing together passionate people can be significant.