About The Book

'The Emergent Approach': A new theory, new tests, and a new practice of strategy.

Why Is This Book Needed?

Despite tons of academic and popular culture writings, strategy remains in disarray. Most people believe they understand and routinely design and implement actual strategies, but they don’t.

Academics and consultants report ongoing failures, showing that most people in organizations—including the leaders and board-members—don’t understand their strategy and are dissatisfied with the strategy process.

It is easy to blame failure on poor execution, as many leaders and writers do with throw-away slogans like "execution eats strategy for lunch," but execution has no meaning without strategy. So, execution is not the first problem. The first problem is the absence of a strategy foundation or even an agreed-upon definition of "strategy." No one can understand something that isn’t defined.

This book provides the missing foundation: it is not a presentation of specific strategies for "succeeding in a world that is more complex and changing faster than ever" (has this tired line been heard enough?) based on cherry-picked case studies.

Instead, the emergent approach, or eApproach, derives the first rigorous theory and practice of strategy and connects it to its purpose of adaptive change and innovation.

A deeper reason that compels a true understanding of strategy today is a growing appreciation of the adaptive nature of change and innovation—a new evolutionary worldview.

All organizations are what are called complex adaptive systems, where new products, new technologies, new capabilities, and successes (and failures) are not planned, but emerge mostly undirected though adaptation—hence, the emergent approach.

Complex adaptive systems make it that much clearer that a new foundational understand of strategy is needed, and especially how ill-designed traditional strategy design and implementation methods are.

The ubiquitous envision-plan-analyze-implement-control stepwise approaches (or the many variants of these steps) lauded by consultants and presented in textbooks do not reflect the messy, ugly, and improbable way that purposeful change and innovation occurs—not in any field.

The eApproach embraces this chaos and brings the theory and practice of strategy for achieving aspirations and making positive change much closer to this messy and ugly reality.

Who Is This Book For?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus et laoreet tellus. Nunc justo dui, scelerisque ac felis quis, imperdiet fringilla arcu. Vivamus ullamcorper dolor sed bibendum lacinia. Sed pulvinar mauris sed feugiat tristique. Fusce interdum rhoncus elit id sollicitudin. Suspendisse sodales luctus arcu, quis feugiat tortor faucibus commodo. Nulla aliquet maximus sapien, ut placerat ligula egestas sit amet. Aliquam sodales ut dolor ac ultricies. Proin quis lorem fringilla, mattis tortor quis, commodo lectus. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos.

Vivamus vestibulum, massa et lacinia accumsan, elit mi eleifend orci, eget tincidunt mauris purus vel felis. Morbi feugiat ligula odio, quis pellentesque nunc molestie non. Donec ex nisi, molestie id condimentum ac, tincidunt non quam. Curabitur interdum lacus vitae vehicula gravida. Nunc iaculis odio eget nulla convallis venenatis. In in nulla hendrerit, blandit odio id, ultricies risus.

Praesent auctor enim velit, quis varius tellus ultricies ut. Phasellus sagittis, neque eget posuere viverra, lorem lacus gravida leo, in viverra ex ex a ligula. Donec vitae nibh neque. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Fusce lacinia pharetra posuere. Nulla euismod congue diam, et aliquam ex tincidunt at. In. [200 words in this section.]

Figure 1: Comparison of adaptive and non-adaptive approaches to framework design and implementation
Non-adaptive Adaptive
Specify the future at the start. Articulate provisional futures, then discover and shape the actual future.
Focus on analysis of the topic. Focus on what knowledge is needed to take actions/decisions.
Calculate and predict. Calculate and internalize possibilities.
Design Implementation after quick strategy design.Design implementation with strategy; blur design and implementation.
Design sequentially. Evolve the whole.
Demand easy and clean. Accept hard, messy, and painful.
Use no alternatives and scenarios. Use several alternatives and scenarios.
Make aspirations the heart-and-soul of the framework. Make the unifying strategy rule the heart-and-soul of the framework.
Rely on “black box” models or no math at all. Rely on visible and understood math, only as complex as needed.
Treat words as soft and numbers as hard; absolute assessments. Treat words and numbers as soft; relative assessments.
Ivory tower designs and puts it on the people. Ivory tower and the people design together; applies to everyone.
Manage by results; measure only results. Manage by adherence to the framework; measure results and causes.
Judge success and failure by results. Judge success and failure by results and approach.
Follow a recipe. Solve a puzzle.

New Theory

Sed ipsum ex, interdum in quam nec, tincidunt cursus nibh. Etiam molestie, orci a consequat suscipit, leo sapien volutpat sapien, ac scelerisque odio justo eget elit. Maecenas interdum efficitur libero, non sollicitudin dui ultrices ut. Aenean dictum nulla dui, et commodo risus feugiat id. Vivamus sit amet cursus nulla. Fusce nec turpis lorem. In vitae porttitor diam. Vestibulum sodales pellentesque magna, et porttitor mi finibus id. Sed aliquet eu sapien nec facilisis. Donec nec orci et felis venenatis aliquet.

In gravida turpis eget ex cursus, vitae consequat purus fermentum. Fusce maximus congue tortor, eget lacinia odio ullamcorper ut. Sed maximus, dolor a accumsan aliquam, odio ante sodales arcu, ut pellentesque nulla tellus vitae quam. Nam maximus ornare neque, nec porta leo rhoncus posuere. Donec aliquet varius felis a consequat.

Nulla sit amet turpis dignissim, pharetra arcu sed, bibendum ante. Aenean nec maximus dolor. Suspendisse mollis urna imperdiet nulla congue rhoncus. Suspendisse vel sodales dolor. Vestibulum ut iaculis nisl. Aenean dui ligula, tristique nec viverra at, fermentum eu risus. Proin quis magna nunc. Mauris vitae interdum magna.

In eros quam, pulvinar sit amet tempor gravida, pretium vitae lacus. Donec et consequat risus, sit amet hendrerit eros. Sed tempus commodo nibh sed. [200 words in this section.]

New Tests

In gravida turpis eget ex cursus, vitae consequat purus fermentum. Fusce maximus congue tortor, eget lacinia odio ullamcorper ut. Sed maximus, dolor a accumsan aliquam, odio ante sodales arcu, ut pellentesque nulla tellus vitae quam. Nam maximus ornare neque, nec porta leo rhoncus posuere. Donec aliquet varius felis a consequat.

Sed ipsum ex, interdum in quam nec, tincidunt cursus nibh. Etiam molestie, orci a consequat suscipit, leo sapien volutpat sapien, ac scelerisque odio justo eget elit. Maecenas interdum efficitur libero, non sollicitudin dui ultrices ut. Aenean dictum nulla dui, et commodo risus feugiat id. Vivamus sit amet cursus nulla. Fusce nec turpis lorem. In vitae porttitor diam. Vestibulum sodales pellentesque magna, et porttitor mi finibus id. Sed aliquet eu sapien nec facilisis. Donec nec orci et felis venenatis aliquet.

Nulla sit amet turpis dignissim, pharetra arcu sed, bibendum ante. Aenean nec maximus dolor. Suspendisse mollis urna imperdiet nulla congue rhoncus. Suspendisse vel sodales dolor. Vestibulum ut iaculis nisl. Aenean dui ligula, tristique nec viverra at, fermentum eu risus. Proin quis magna nunc. Mauris vitae interdum magna.

In eros quam, pulvinar sit amet tempor gravida, pretium vitae lacus. Donec et consequat risus, sit amet hendrerit eros. Sed tempus commodo nibh sed. [200 words in this section.]

New Practice

Nulla sit amet turpis dignissim, pharetra arcu sed, bibendum ante. Aenean nec maximus dolor. Suspendisse mollis urna imperdiet nulla congue rhoncus. Suspendisse vel sodales dolor. Vestibulum ut iaculis nisl. Aenean dui ligula, tristique nec viverra at, fermentum eu risus. Proin quis magna nunc. Mauris vitae interdum magna.

In gravida turpis eget ex cursus, vitae consequat purus fermentum. Fusce maximus congue tortor, eget lacinia odio ullamcorper ut. Sed maximus, dolor a accumsan aliquam, odio ante sodales arcu, ut pellentesque nulla tellus vitae quam.

Nam maximus ornare neque, nec porta leo rhoncus posuere. Donec aliquet varius felis a consequat. Sed ipsum ex, interdum in quam nec, tincidunt cursus nibh. Etiam molestie, orci a consequat suscipit, leo sapien volutpat sapien, ac scelerisque odio justo eget elit. Maecenas interdum efficitur libero, non sollicitudin dui ultrices ut. Aenean dictum nulla dui, et commodo risus feugiat id.

Vivamus sit amet cursus nulla. Fusce nec turpis lorem. In vitae porttitor diam. Vestibulum sodales pellentesque magna, et porttitor mi finibus id. Sed aliquet eu sapien nec facilisis. Donec nec orci et felis venenatis aliquet. In eros quam, pulvinar sit amet tempor gravida, pretium vitae lacus. Donec et consequat risus, sit amet hendrerit eros. Sed tempus commodo nibh sed. [200 words in this section.]