When I was young I was fascinated by projections of future technologies. The future looked like an exciting place and I couldn’t wait to see it. Many new technologies have been introduced in my lifetime and most were enabled by new materials. Looking back into the past we can clearly see where materials innovations not only made an impact, but drastically changed society. What future technologies are awaiting new materials and how do we develop them? Is it possible to create materials that will provide a leap in performance compared to existing materials, rather than just an incremental change? What can we learn from previous developments? It is vitally important to continue growing materials development. Serious attention needs to be paid in how we direct and prioritize material research. Materials technologists need to be better connected with those who make policy and become an active part in decision-making at the earliest levels. Most of all, we need excited, ambitious and well trained materials engineers to lead the next generation of developments. These topics and how some of my research responds to this will be discussed.