Merck is a science and technology company researching and engaging in areas such as healthcare, life science and performance materials. ma ma has collaborated with Merck since 2015.
Merck’s Performance Material division asked us to investigate future applications and uses of one of its key technologies: liquid crystals. Informed by trend research and design thinking, we visualized different future application scenarios for flexible liquid crystal displays. The purpose of our future sketches was to facilitate an informed discussion about flexible display use and forge new strategic partnerships throughout the value chain between R&D, technology manufacturers and customers. The outcome showed Merck that reflecting on the future to create application scenarios and artifacts is an effective decision-making strategy that can initiate discussion about future business opportunities.
In the first project we created a lot of quick visualization for possible applications of flexible displays.
Taking the ideas of tangible futures one step further, Merck entrusted us with another forward-looking project. To explore and envision future uses of flexible display technologies, we focused on two complementary market segments – Digital Signage and Digital Fashion. Digital Signage offers the opportunity to deploy large scale displays in public spaces, while Digital Fashion allows experimental momentum thinking about displays beyond technology. In a series of discussions and workshops with Merck and strategic business partners all over the world, we used our application scenarios to reflect on transforming and challenging future value chains in upstream and downstream markets.
We selected two topics from the first phase and explored them more in-depth in the following project. The printed booklets were used to get into conversations with business partners about the potential of the technology.
Possible scenarios for the use of new medical technologies for personal and professional applications.
Our intent was to probe alternative futures and create immersive discursive situations for engaged thinking about digital medicine and health systems going forward. Our future application scenarios tell stories about contexts of use—how and for what purpose. Not only do they anticipate future service and business models and mediate the development of underlying base technologies, they also inform our discussion about how we want to live in the future and how we might get there.
In January 2018, Merck hosted “Digital Health – Improving Prevention, Prediction and Care” in Berlin. During the conference ma ma presented five of its seven future application scenarios. The ‘Health Futures Gallery’ invited all stakeholders from international politics, science and society to immerse themselves in discussion and reflect on the future of digital health and our healthcare system.