Bayer Crop Science

Learn more about how the digital farming arm of Bayer used open innovation to better leverage data and improve farming across Europe and South Africa.

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The Climate Corporation is a subsidiary of Bayer Crop Science that focuses on leveraging biological, chemical, and data tools to improve and drive innovation in agriculture. For grower customers, any steps forward in data science and tools can be the difference when it comes to maximizing yields and avoiding soil problems. The team at The Climate Corporation division is very focused on the potential afforded by open innovation, and launched a Challenge with Wazoku to support their endeavors.

How can growing partners ‘farm smarter’? With ‘predictive agronomic models’. The Climate Corporation use these to optimize inputs for farmers, using increased data and the advent of analytics and AI to quantify uncertainties around when to plant/spray, the weather, and logistics.

“Many naysayers of external collaboration say that it’s too risky, not secure, and hard to manage consistently. With this Challenge, we’ve proven the complete opposite: our predictive agricultural models have benefited massively from the partnership with Wazoku and the insights of the Wazoku Crowd”

// Phil Taylor
Director of Open Innovation and Outreach at Bayer

Why did The Climate Corporation run this Challenge?

Through tools and insights, farmers can learn where to apply herbicides or pesticides more precisely, know which fields are more or less at risk from pH changes, and better plan watering schedules. In order to power these tools, the team needed the data for 10 countries in Europe and South Africa – but even finding or getting access to this data can be its own problem.

Bringing different data layers and sets together would allow for smarter, modern farming: so The Climate Corporation asked the Wazoku Crowd for information around soil around the world. Georeferenced soil databases and elevation models could then be used at the field and subfield scale levels to help the business’ grower customers. Using an Ideation Challenge ensured that there would be a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution, and that The Climate Corporation could use all solutions with a non-exclusive license.

Phil Taylor, Director of Open Innovation and Outreach at Bayer, is convinced that the next great innovation in agriculture will come from someone who does not think about agriculture at all. This belief in the power of adjacent innovations from tangential fields or even from somewhere else entirely is where the Wazoku Crowd thrives. By framing this question in this way, Solvers from all around the world could resonate and engage with Bayer’s problem: bringing in insights from medical fields, aerospace, engineering, and more.

Running this Challenge helped to overcome their information gap that they could not fill with internal resource, information, or publicly-available information.


Unique pageviews to the Challenge


Submitted solutions to explore


Countries represented by Solvers

The solutions and the role of Wazoku

Bayer have the largest R&D organization in their industry but still realized that their teams cannot do everything internally or by themselves. Using open innovation with Wazoku helped them to act more agilely, tap into the scale and depth of expertise outside their business, and used the insights to adopt the next great technologies and opportunities.

“The solutions these two parties provided – researched and submitted within a two-month span – have the potential to be leveraged for training future agronomic models, and to be integrated into value-add capabilities for farmers across Europe and South Africa.”

// Shilpa Sood
Senior Manager, Corn Modeling Team at The Climate Corporation

At one point in Monsanto, the legacy company before Bayer’s acquisition and rebranding into The Climate Corporation, every product on their list had an element of technology from outside the company. It is very much in Bayer’s DNA that external partnering and interactions are critical to success. Wazoku is a key part of The Climate Corporation’s open innovation strategy, with the Wazoku Platform and an ability to address a question that the team could not answer internally.

In framing the Challenge question to be run to the crowd, Wazoku helped Bayer Crop Science and The Climate Corporation stakeholders to establish:

  • What the teams were missing
  • What expertise the Wazoku Crowd holds
  • How to phrase the question and Challenge statement to best generate solutions

The entire process took six months from end to end and the $10,000 USD award was split between two solutions.

In the webinar around ‘The Skin of The Earth’ Challenge’s success, the Bayer team agreed that it would have taken a lot longer and cost a lot more to find the solutions to this problem any other way.

Find out more by watching the webinar below:

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