Derek Ellis

  • DESIGN Division | President

    The path design ends up taking you on may be completely unexpected. That uncertainty is what I thrive on and where the real opportunity and innovation lies.

    Derek Ellis

    • DESIGN Division | President

      “I've always been passionate about the power of good design and its ability to improve people’s lives,” says Derek. As President of Deltatre DESIGN, he’s responsible for ensuring world-class design and design strategy is always front and centre and helping to drive better business outcomes for Deltatre’s clients and their customers.

      Growing up in a rural farming community in New Zealand, Derek always knew he wanted to pursue a creative route. He took on various freelance design projects before leaving home at 17 to take on a highly competitive Commercial Design degree – at the time, he was just one of 36 students in the entire country to secure a place.

      After graduating, he joined a start-up at the dawn of the computer publishing era. “We did a lot of the early pioneering work around interactivity,” he says. And then, at the age of 27, he moved to Australia to co-found Massive Interactive with Ron Downey, who today leads the continual innovation of OTT products at Deltatre. Massive was acquired by Deltatre in 2018.

      Back in 1996, Derek’s first project was with Microsoft Network and involved creating a live web series to tell the story of an expedition to Antarctica. It was complex work and pushed the then current technology to the limit. “We always gravitated towards experiences involving new or emerging tech,” says Derek. “We were never afraid of taking on new projects that broke new ground – looking back some were outrageously ambitious, and often equally successful.”

      Although much has changed within the company and the wider technology landscape over the past two decades, Derek’s belief in the power of design has not faded. “Design is important as it bridges the gap between technology and the consumer,” he says. “It allows you to really dig into the needs and value equation for the consumer, then work through a process to deliver a solution – the path it ends up taking you on may be completely unexpected. That uncertainty is what I thrive on and where the real opportunity and innovation lies.”

      Outside of work, Derek enjoys travel and outdoor activities such as hiking. He also practises and teaches martial arts – a discipline he believes has parallels with the business world. “It’s an area where you’re constantly pushed beyond your comfort zone. How you react in those situations is what’s important – I’ve gained some good life lessons from it,” he says.

      The path design ends up taking you on may be completely unexpected. That uncertainty is what I thrive on and where the real opportunity and innovation lies.

      01

      Key Stats

      473

      Italian words understood

      9

      Hours spent mountain climbing on his last birthday

      52

      The most hours travelled for one pitch meeting (the pitch was successful)

      4+

      Dinners rejected by one or both his 3-year-old twin girls every week

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