DuPont Veteran Brings His Diverse Background in Business, Science, and Music to a New Approach to Strategy

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At DuPont, I was fortunate to work with Pete Compo as the ideas forming the Emergent Approach to Strategy were developed. In recent years I has been involved in the preparation of the Emergent Approach to Strategy and am the first affiliated partner to deliver to help product line and business teams design and implement adaptive strategies. With immense pleasure, it can be announced that the Emergent Approach to Strategy will be available for sale on June 7, 2022. Meanwhile read more on some of the book’s key ideas with Arkaro’s Strategy Insights

Mark Blackwell, Founder, Arkaro

DuPont Veteran brings his diverse background in business, science and music to a new approach to strategy

Peter Compo's The Emergent Approach to Strategy is a wonderful rethinking of the language and logic of business strategy. Be prepared to learn how to identify "killer problems" and critical "bottlenecks" as well as how to see the "disqualifiers" implicit in too many statements of strategy. This is a necessary addition to a strategist's bookshelf.

--Richard Rumelt, Author of Good Strategy/Bad Strategy and The Crux

Peter Compo’s upcoming book, The Emergent Approach to Strategy: Adaptive Design and Execution (Business Expert Press, May 2022) lays out a new theory and detailed practice of strategy built on an adaptive view of change and innovation, in contrast to “planning” the future.  The Emergent Approach is aligned with the spirit of management thinker Henry Mintzberg’s view of emergent strategy, but it presents a method for making emergence a reality.

The culmination of years of experience and study, Compo was driven to write this book, in part, out of frustration with the state of strategy theory and practice. In addition to what he gleaned in his 25-year DuPont career, he cites decades of academic and consultant reports of chronic strategy failure. And despite the how much is written about it, and how much is spent on it, strategy practice doesn’t seem to be improving, as recent reports suggest . . .

“A survey of 124 corporations concludes no one knows your strategy—not even your top leaders.”

– Sull, Sull and Yoder, 2018

“Only 37 percent of six thousand corporate executives said that their companies had well-defined strategies, 35 percent felt that the strategies would lead their firms to success, and 20 percent felt there was agreement in their companies about which capabilities were key to their firms’ success.

– Carroll and Sørensen, 2021

Compo’s book addresses two problems that must be solved to attack these chronic problems: First, the consulting-corporate-academia complex must reduce the noise level and develop a common language and understanding of how strategy actually works (not just based on generalizations from case studies). Second, practitioners must truly embrace an adaptive, versus a “planned,” view of the world.

Compo rigorously derives strategy and innovation theory from Darwinian evolution and a model of complex adaptive systems. Yet he keeps the reading down to earth by illustrating the theory with an ongoing example of creating a bike shop. He shows that creativity and innovation—whether in business, music, or any field—don’t come from out-of-the-box free thinking but emerge from deep disciplines and hard work. He offers no simple recipe for success or easy transformations.

While aimed at business applications—from large corporations to small companies—the Emergent Approach applies broadly. Compo analyzes Bill Belichick’s defensive strategy that enabled the NY Giants victory in the 1990 Super Bowl, and in a more serious example, shows that the 2005 White House National Strategy for Victory in Iraq was not a strategy at all, but nothing more than a massive list of subgoals.

The approach is not limited to business managers. It applies to any business function including product, IT, HR, manufacturing and supply chain managers. It applies to entrepreneurs as well.

The book is accompanied by a comprehensive web site that offers additional content and a guidebook to Emergent Approach implementation called the Five Task Sets (

Pete Compo

Pete Compo - The Emergent Approach to Strategy

Unlike many authors of strategy theory and practice from universities and consulting firms, Compo’s professional experience was spent working in the “corporate trenches.” Starting with musical training, and then a BA in Biology (SUNY Purchase, 1981), and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering (City University NY, 1989), he joined E. I. DuPont as a research scientist. He went on to hold leadership positions in R&D, product management, marketing, supply chain, and business management, and was the corporate lead for integrated business planning. He left the company after 25 years to work full time on developing the Emergent Approach. Compo comes from a multi-generational family of musicians in the New York City metropolitan area, where he was born and raised. He currently lives in Arden, Delaware.

Publication Information

The Emergent Approach to Strategy: Adaptive Design & Execution by Peter Compo

Publisher: Business Expert Press

Available on Amazon from June 7, 2022.
Meanwhile read more on some of the book’s key ideas with Arkaro’s Strategy Insights

Emergent Approach to Strategy Insights
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