Get Smarter

There are so many brilliant ideas out there, yet many of them die prematurely. What would it be like to provide the instigators of these ideas with new skills to take their vision to the next level?
Bayer and UK’s St. George University created an online learning course about managing innovation. The course is published on the platform FutureLearn. It´s open to all creative minds around the world, helping them to turn their idea into reality.
The global outreach of the new course will support the evolution of an innovation culture that will help people to develop solutions for present and future challenges – big or small.

Join this /mu:k/ to study the art & craft of innovation!  

You have a great idea, but don’t know how to implement it? Don’t let it die! Join the Bayer MOOC at London’s St. George University for an online training that boosts your innovation skill set.   


MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses in cooperation with renowned universities) are free for all and there is no limit to the number of participants. The Bayer MOOC is all about managing innovation, and provides you with step-by-step explanations on how to drive an idea from experimentation to implementation. Practical tools and inspiring hints will help you to manage innovations in today’s complex world and under conditions of high uncertainty. 


The course takes up 2.5 hours a week over a span of three weeks. During this time, participants will take the curriculum in as many little bites as they want to. Presentations, videos, and informative copy will help them to define their challenge, build a prototype, assess the value of their idea,  and pitch the project to gain support and sponsorship. And even though the students are individuals based all over the world, they are not alone, emphasizes Bayer project lead Oliver Winkelmann: “During the span of the course, the self-learners will forge a community that will help each other, and exchange their ideas and inspirations. In addition, they will be supported by the Bayer mentor team who developed the MOOC, among them PhD student Karolin Gebhardt, who contributed the insights of her doctoral thesis on ’planning, monitoring and analyzing innovation projects’ to support the MOOC’s practical implementation.”   


The first round of Bayer’s Innovation MOOC took place in April 2019. Over 1,000 innovation-minded individuals from about 100 countries participated. The MOOC’s second round started on September 9. The learning window for this group will be open until November 10. 

3 questions to the MOOC team

Oliver Winkelmann and Karolin Gebhardt talk about their project

1 What is special and new about your approach to innovation?

Karolin: Innovation projects, like all other projects, need project management. In the past, the people were using ONE method and ONE project management approach, and they used it again and again. We believe that you need to be flexible and adapt the approach to its context: What does the customer want? Do I know my customers? Do I have a clear idea of where to find a solution? Depending on the degree of uncertainty involved, you can choose a suitable approach: from “Design Thinking” and “Lean Startup”, to “SCRUM” for agile project management. Studies show that teams that are more flexible in choosing their methods are the most successful.

2 You also help the participants to gain support for their ideas. How do you do that? 

Oliver: We start by showing them how to build a prototype. Prototypes are a very useful means of communication. If you communicate your idea with words, you will create an image in another person’s mind, but it will never be an exact duplication of what’s in your own mind. So a prototype is a great communication tool to get your message across and gain a sponsor for your idea. 

Karolin: And once the students have created their prototype, we help them to build a story around it, because the second most important thing in successful innovation is storytelling. When pitching an idea you need to fire your sponsors’ imagination, making the potential value of your idea come alive in their heads.

3 Earlier this year, the first edition of the MOOC attracted 1000 people from about 100 countries. What was their feedback? 

Oliver: These people were innovation experts or enthusiasts from many areas and companies. They appreciated the practice-oriented knowledge and insight gained from the course and even the highly experienced innovation coaches among them were full of praise. We are really proud of this feedback and I think that this MOOC deserves it: It is not a pimped-up, flashy adaption of existing courses. It is a genuine innovation itself and it really offers added value for many individuals and their organizations and companies.