DIVERSITY INNOVATION SUPPORT SCHEME FOR SMEs
The term “demographic time bomb” describes one of the most important challenges of our time. It refers to the demographic changes in the population structure of most industrialized countries caused by falling birth rates and simultaneously rising life expectancy. Organizations are also affected by these changes, which is reflected in the fact that an age-heterogeneous composition of teams has become the norm.
According to the current state of research, age diversity is seen as a double-edged sword with an impact on organisational effectiveness and innovation. On the one hand, age diversity can provoke emotional conflicts between individual team members and thus negatively influence the effectiveness of the team. On the other hand, age diversity can contribute to the development of new ideas and innovations by integrating different perspectives and knowledge levels within the team. These positive and negative effects of age diversity are influenced by the framework conditions within the organisation, such as leadership, team climate or the cognitive abilities of individual team members. Especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), whose success is strongly based on innovation, it is necessary to promote those framework conditions that maximize the positive effects of age diversity.
The DINNOS project aims to address the challenges of age heterogeneous team composition by developing an innovation support programme and evaluating it with a sample of 300 SMEs in Germany and the UK. The innovation support programme consists of a leadership training for the founders or managers of the SMEs and a cognitive training for older employees. The results of the DINNOS project will help SMEs in Germany and the UK to improve their innovation processes.
Aston University (West Midlands, UK)
Bergische Universität Wuppertal (Rhine-Ruhr-Region, GER)