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Tim Chambers has a great piece in the Huffington Post that actually explores some of the same territory that Michael Sansolo does in his column above.

He starts with the following phrase: "We decided to innovate our way through this downturn, so that we would be further ahead of our competitors when things turn up."

That phrase was uttered by Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Computer…and he said it in 2001, as that particular recession was coming to an end. One of the innovations that Apple came up with during that recession was the iTunes Store – which has evolved into a business that resulted into the sale of 220 million iPods, 30 million iPhones, and 8.5 billion songs sold over the Internet. While Chambers doesn’t mention it, Apple has just noted another milestone in a business that essentially began early in this recession – the development of Apple’s App store, which has enabled the downloading of more than two million applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch in the last 18 months, and that makes more than 85,000 applications available to users.

Chambers writes that this recession winds down, economists “agree that recovery will feel less like a weight lifted, and more like a slow march out of a deep and wide crater. So we've escaped the Abyss and the Recession from Hell, how do we navigate the Recovery from Hell?

“The answer I suggest -- for the entire country -- is the same as it was in 2000 for a pre- iTunes and pre-iPod Apple Corporation: we innovate our way out.

“America is a generative, innovative nation all the way down to our DNA. In the technology sector, but in all sectors(including governance) innovation will be our north star as we rebuild a 21st century new, new economy.”
KC's View:
When you think about it, this ties together a lot of our stories this morning. Innovating through the hard times is almost certainly what Jim Donald is going to be doing at Haggen, what Craig Herkert is trying to do at Supervalu, and what P&G did with Pepto-Bismol.

If innovation is not the North Star, then you almost certainly end up lost. As Chambers suggests, you have to do what Apple suggested we do back at the beginning of the decade: Think Different.