Interview with Shaun Deverson, Entrepreneur and Advocate for Regenerative Leadership

Interview with Shaun Deverson, Entrepreneur and Advocate for Regenerative Leadership
Photo Credited to Lighthouse Futures

Shaun Deverson is an accomplished Honors-qualified Civil and Environmental Engineer turned Transformation Practitioner with an impressive track record spanning over 25 years. His expertise encompasses a diverse range of sectors including Defense, Mining, Transportation, and Construction. Shaun’s educational background is equally noteworthy, holding a Master’s in Business and Technology, as well as certificates in Project Management and Systems Engineering.

Throughout his career, Shaun Deverson has assumed various roles, including Managing Director, Project Manager, and Management Consultant for both large corporations and smaller enterprises. He leveraged all his knowledge and expertise to found Lighthouse Futures, a consultancy focused on blending science with the arts and indigenous wisdom to provide unique insights that facilitate disruption and deep transformation. 

Today, we sit down with Shaun to learn more about his unique approach and his entrepreneurial journey with Lighthouse Futures

Q. Can you share the story of your journey as an entrepreneur, with Lighthouse Features? How did it come about?

Shaun: With no real plan, it’s been what I can best describe as an organic journey of experiences, discovery and learning. These things combined fertilised a seed in me that’s taken me down this patient but solid path of personal growth. That path has led to the supporting of systems, organisations and people that have helped me transition and transform.

Q. You have quite a diverse background. How has your multidisciplinary expertise shaped your approach to entrepreneurship?

Shaun: It’s certainly helped me discover what tools and approaches can be transferred into one skill set to support the optimisation and growth of another. In that salad bowl is where ideas can be brought out, tested and allowed to flourish. Ultimately, the diversity of my expertise has helped me see and communicate to others what could happen instead of what should happen as they undergo much-needed transformation and transition. It’s in the “what could happen” where richness and opportunities can be found. 

Q. What motivated you to transition from a career in the Royal Australian Navy and Army Reserve to becoming an entrepreneur and consultant? 

Shaun: The military brings people of diverse backgrounds together and it’s also culturally immersive because travel is a big part of the experience. In anything, the military forces you to be open-minded and keep your eyes open. Through that lens, you start noticing things both internally and externally that are very insightful and exciting. As well as frustrating and disturbing. 

In terms of leadership and transformation, the military has its traditions and processes, which are very helpful. The military taught me a lot about preparedness, decision-making, and the importance of training. I think the business world can learn a lot from that and, through Lighthouse Futures, I aim to prove that it’s possible to be efficient and profitable without sacrificing important virtues. In fact, leveraging those virtues can be a force multiplier. 

Q. Based on your experience as a management consultant, can you share some of the common challenges you’ve observed in organizations when it comes to adapting to change and innovation?

Shaun: The art of rich conversations is probably the one consistent challenge in businesses of any size. There’s somewhat of a paradox that exists between small and large organisations in this space. Small organisations are agile enough to engage in conversations but they’re going so fast that they lack depth to have any meaningful conversations. 

On the other hand, large organizations are diverse and energetic, but bureaucracy slows them down and artificial bottlenecks prevent rich conversations from occurring. I believe they all need to be better at tapping into this source of validation, navigation and correction to achieve sustained and consistent prosperity today and in the future. 

Q. As an advocate for regenerative practices, can you explain what regenerative leadership means to you?

Shaun: Regenerative leadership means being a planetary steward for now and the future. It embraces the indigenous and buddhist mantra of planting seeds now for future generations to enjoy the fruits from later. If organisations can also embrace this philosophy and posture, others will notice and others will follow. 

I think it’s a very human, natural thing that we share across cultures – the need to provide the best for our children and theirs. We just need to acknowledge that this shared value has been manipulated and distorted by a systemic worldview that only wants you to think about you and focus just on the now. 

Q. How do ecological laws and indigenous wisdom inform your work, and how can they contribute to more sustainable and responsible business practices?

Shaun: If we can acknowledge the fact that we humans are part of the global ecosystem and rely on it for our health and well-being, by extrapolation you simply can’t ignore its laws to achieve harmony and balance. These laws are based on scale and levels of predictability and we’re increasingly running into trouble nowadays based on decisions that disrespected them in the past. The indigenous people respected these laws and perfected systems of harmony and balance that gave them meaning and happiness around them. That’s why anthropology has become my go to ‘business book’ for ideas and inspiration. 

Q. What are some key insights or trends you believe organizations should be aware of when it comes to innovating and taking risks?

Shaun: I would say, embrace ideas from different people from both in and outside of your organization. No great idea was generated out of nothing or from a single person. It takes a village to raise a child and that applies to businesses as well. Doing this can help you cover the bases of innovation and risks, which are two sides of the same coin. 

It doesn’t mean you won’t fail or take a step back, in fact, you should prepare, expect and embrace failure as a learning exercise. Even the military trains soldiers to retreat as a sound response to a failed strategy. To build any muscle, you first need to tear it.

Q. What are the most rewarding aspects of your work as a consultant? Is there a particular transformational success story that stands out to you?

Shaun: Delivering insights and outcomes that the client wasn’t expecting is a big source of validation for me. I once worked with a large public transport body that wanted support with a transformational piece in their technical area. They were concerned with the internal and external fallout that could emerge from the change but through shared understandings and shared intent, that concern was flipped on its head to one of excitement and energy. 

Q. How do you envision the future of Lighthouse Futures?

Shaun: We see a future encompassing more global work and more profound work in areas of research and development. I’m personally 12 months into a Doctorate of Philosophy where I’m increasingly looking at how we can embed our services into academia and global think tanks. 

I see the potential for a lot of work to be done at the community level where transformation and resilience go hand in hand, giving power to community voices including non-humans, developing community shared understandings and shared goals for future generations.

To learn more about Lighthouse Futures, visit their website or connect with them on Facebook and LinkedIn

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