Three hidden factors shaping the innovation environment are guns, games, and style

Read in Business Week:

Where will innovation come from? That's always on the minds of those whose livelihood depends, directly or indirectly, on information technology. (...) In today's technology industry, the three hidden factors shaping the innovation environment are guns, games, and style.

"Guns" means the military and the vast associated intelligence and homeland security apparatus. From battling distributed global terror networks to providing soldiers with real-time information on the battlefield, the military faces a plethora of challenges that call for cutting-edge technology. (...) Something similar is happening in the gaming world. Computer games are a big business, rivaling the movie industry in revenues.(...) Massive, multiplayer virtual worlds, such as EverQuest, The Sims Online, and World of Warcraft, collectively have tens of millions of regular users, who put as much, if not more, stress on their technical infrastructure as customers on eBay (EBAY ) or (AMZN ). It's no accident that perhaps the world's most sophisticated microprocessor, the Cell chip developed jointly by IBM (IBM ), Toshiba, and Sony (SNE ), was designed primarily for gaming. Games are also creating new markets in their wake. Online transactions in "virtual assets"...(...)

Style, the third element, may seem particularly incongruous in a technology discussion. Yet it's an ever more significant driver of innovation. As the IT industry matures, raw technical specifications become less important. The baseline level of functionality is usually good enough. That puts a premium on aesthetics, buzz, usability, and other "soft" factors.

Well what about sex? It might be the 4th drivin factor?