Futurist and Adjunct Professor Ray Wills is a bit of a rock-star to the science and tech worlds, bringing passion and vision to his topics of energy, climate, technology and sustainability - and the future.
I first saw Ray speak at an energy innovation event, where he began talking about the importance of Pokemon Go to tech, moved onto stress the importance of language in innovation, then showed clearly how rates of change are increasing, and argued governments must in fact drive innovation.
Ray's pursuits are many and varied, from his $160 million Cunderdin solar farm and his work as a futurist at Future Smart Strategies. I caught up with Ray for one of the longer chats I've had for this blog - where amongst other topics we covered Star Trek and the impact of the US election - those parts of the chat I've saved for a future 'Part 2', but the rest remains compelling to hear.
In essence, "the future" may not be as far away as we think - whereas once we thought the years 1984 or 2000 were futuristic (the 1981 TV show "Towards 2000" became "Beyond 2000" in 1985), its quite likely that the technology we still think of as futuristic now (driverless cars or 3D printed buildings) may already be past the corner, due to the changes in our abilities to test and iterate.
This also brings more fundamental and possibly unexpected changes - road systems themselves may entirely change and need to be re-thought if cars can self-regulate, for example, and a city of roads starts to seem, well, very 2016.
My chat with Ray is not so much about the role of creativity directly, but it illustrates how rapidly things may change, and I believe our "creative capacity" (our ability to create new opportunities, generate new answers and iterate if things don't work) becomes crucial - and quite possibly, the skills we will need to both anticipate our future, and design systems and models we use within it.