Driving innovation in agriculture: the use of innovation software at RWZ

Continuous improvement, Innovation management and digitalization are the key drivers of competitiveness in agriculture. Increasingly, innovation in agriculture and in farming is driven by data. As the third largest German agricultural cooperative, Raiffeisen Waren-Zentrale Rhein-Main eG (RWZ) supports farmers by trading with agricultural products, agricultural inputs and agricultural technology. In addition, the company operates car dealerships as well as home and garden markets and is active as a fuel dealer for private customers, especially in rural areas. One of the major goals of RWZ: Accelerating innovation in agriculture as an enabler.

Implementing an agricultural innovation system at RWZ

With Innolytics® innovation software and collaboration software, RWZ connects more than 1,200 employees at nearly 150 different locations. The agricultural innovation system consists of numerous workflows to drive and implement innovation.

“Our employees have always had excellent ideas for expanding and advancing our business. With Innolytics® software, we have a tool that transparently displays these ideas on a platform. Through a structured process, we ensure that ideas are implemented sustainably,”

says Katrin Hartjes, Team Leader Innovation in Agriculture at RWZ.


The RWZ approach for generating innovation in agriculture

The innovation software and collaboration software was implemented in April 2019. Ideas for innovation in agriculture that had been collected and managed in Excel spreadsheets until then were uploaded. They were available for evaluation and further development.

“With the innovation software, it was finally possible to communicate, discuss and evaluate existing ideas for innovation in agriculture across the company. This has created a new dynamic in our innovation activities,”

says Maren Prinz, Innovation Manager.

Innolytics® software supports innovation in agriculture and other industries. The software is permanently free of charge for up to 15 users. In the enterprise version, companies can manage different innovation and collaboration workflows customized to their challenges.


Conducting the first innovation challenge

In May 2019, RWZ launched its first ideation and innovation challenge. Within a few days, more than 100 ideas for cost reductions and process optimization were received. The teams working on the 10 best ideas were invited to a workshop at the Cologne corporate headquarters, where their innovation projects were discussed and worked out with the help of coaches.

“It was exciting to see how much value there is in ideas that at first glance are small and insignificant. Together with the teams, we developed advantages, cost-benefit calculations and implementation strategies for each idea,”

says Maren Reetz, Bio Marketing Manager & Quality Manager.

Innolytics® supported RWZ with the platform and with consulting on implementation: starting with structuring the innovation process, via communication and campaign management, to coaching the best teams. “Innolytics® provided us with outstanding professional support from the very first minute,” says Katrin Hartjes. “We benefited both from the very appealing software and from the great expertise”.


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