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1/3/2011
12:32 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: How 'Call Of Duty' Is Driving Global Innovation

The military-industrial complex is now the entertainment-industrial complex, writes Andy Kessler, and video games are turning global business upside-down.

As we fully re-engage with the business world after some holiday time with family and friends, here are a few questions to help get the brain cycles churning:

What business are you in today?

How does that differ from the business you were in one year ago today?

In 2011, what will customers and prospects demand from your company that wasn't required in 2010?

As you wrap that third question around the first two, what business will you be in at this time next year?

How much responsibility do you have for driving innovation within your organization?

What sources of innovation will you bring to bear in 2011 to ensure that you can continue to deliver not only what your customers and prospects demand, but also what they want?

Are those sources of innovation the same as they were one year ago? Two years ago? Five years ago?

If they are, can you really expect to be able to compete in a world where the future is arriving faster than it ever has before?

And speaking of indispensable sources of competitive advantage, suppose your CEO asked you to name the type of technology that is causing the most disruption and driving the most innovation in the business world today: what would your answer be?

According to a fascinating column in Monday's Wall Street Journal, the answer is one that might shock you: video games. As in, "How Videogames Are Changing the Economy":

"This fall, the Chinese National University of Defense Technology announced that it had created the world's fastest supercomputer, Tianhe-1A, which clocks in at 2.5 petaflops (or 2,500 trillion operations) per second," the column says. "This is the shape of the world to come—but not in the way you might think.

"Powering the Tianhe-1A are some three million processing cores from Nvidia, the Silicon Valley company that has sold hundreds of millions of graphics chips for videogames. That's right—every time someone fires up a videogame like Call of Duty or World of Warcraft, the state of the art in technology advances. Hug a geek today."

Former hedge-fund manager Andy Kessler argues that the world of entertainment—the realms of fantasy, shoot-'em-ups, souped-up machines and stuff that simply isn't real—has displaced the military as the prime mover behind finding and funding the techie stuff that will fundamentally and sometimes dramatically change how we live, learn, play—and do business.

Writes Kessler:

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