Diversity Innovation Support Scheme for SMEs (DINNOS)

Last registered on August 13, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

Diversity Innovation Support Scheme for SMEs (DINNOS)
Initial registration date
August 13, 2020
Last updated
August 13, 2020, 12:34 PM EDT


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Primary Investigator

Aston University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Bergische Universität Wuppertal
PI Affiliation
Bergische Universität Wuppertal
PI Affiliation
Aston University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824217
Due to changing demographics in Germany and the UK and associated retirement policies, in organisations age diversity is expected to increase. Previous research has suggested that age diversity can impact innovation on different organisational levels. On the individual level increased age is associated with a decline of fluid cognitive abilities, which are relevant for the development of innovative ideas. On the organisational level, conflicts, and age stereotypes have a negative impact on innovation.
To prevent and even reverse the adverse impact of age diversity on innovation, an innovation support scheme for SMEs was developed and piloted in a previously conducted research project in Germany. This scheme included interventions for individuals and leaders. At the individual level, a cognitive ability training was introduced to reduce the decline of fluid cognitive abilities and in turn increase the generation of innovative ideas particularly for older employees. Moreover, a leadership training was introduced, which emphasizes on reducing age stereotypes and associated conflicts and enhance appreciation of age diversity. DINNOS, aims to conduct a Randomized-Controlled Trial (RCT) to evaluate the effectiveness of this innovation support scheme in a sample of SMEs from Germany and the UK. In both countries, we will conduct an RCT involving an experimental- and a waiting-list control group with N=300 SMEs which will be equally divided to both groups. On the individual level we will examine cognitive ability, individual creativity and innovation behaviours as outcomes. Whereas on the organisational level outcomes will consist of self-reported indicators, such as reduced age stereotypes and team innovation as well as objective outcomes such as number of submitted ideas and patents.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Diestel, Stefan et al. 2020. "Diversity Innovation Support Scheme for SMEs (DINNOS)." AEA RCT Registry. August 13. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6286-1.0
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


DINNOS involves two training components, that aim to facilitate leadership behaviours (leadership training component) of SME entrepreneurs and cognitive or intellectual capacities (cognitive training component) of individual employees.

Leadership training:
The leadership training component consists of an elaborated training concept for SME entrepreneurs, which is based on the servant leadership approach. The training will focus on three mechanisms, which have been previously demonstrated to underlie the relation between servant leadership and followers’ creativity and innovation. Namely, the training will expand upon how to satisfy followers’ basic psychological needs, manage task and relationship conflicts within teams, and facilitate a climate of psychological safety. During the training participants will be informed about the specific challenges of high age diversity in teams.

Cognitive training:
The cognitive training component is based upon an integrative set of cognitive exercises, which enhance primary memory and executive processes (e.g. attention) as well as fluid cognitive functioning (e.g. inductive and deductive reasoning), in order to foster individual capacities for creative and innovative performance at work. It will be administered in cooperation with CogniFit (https://www.cognifit.com/#).
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Employees' creative and innovative behaviours, Cognitive abilities.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Employees' innovative outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Innovation outcomes will be measured by objective measures assessing whether employees have implemented product, services, or process innovations.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The design of the trial is a waiting list-control group design. After an initial baseline data collection, SMEs will be randomly assigned to an experimental and a waiting-list control group. SME-entrepreneurs and employees in the experimental group will receive the ISS (Innovation Support Scheme) consistent of the leadership and cognitive training. Afterwards, another data collection involving both the experimental- and waiting-list control group will take place. This data collection will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the ISS in the experimental group. Finally, the waiting-list control group will receive the ISS followed by a final data collection to assess the effectiveness of the ISS for the waiting-list control group and the long-term effectiveness for the experimental group.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The trial will make use of cluster randomization. The relevant clusters will be SMEs.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
300 SMEs
Sample size: planned number of observations
1500 employees
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
150 SMEs experimental, 150 SMEs waiting-list control.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Potential assumptions relevant to sample size calculations Leadership training intervention: Effect Cohen's d: .20, Power: 0.80, Level of significance: 0.05 Cognitive training: Effect Cohen's d: .40, Power: 0.80, Level of significance: 0.05
Supporting Documents and Materials


Document Name
IGL trial protocol DINNOS
Document Type
Document Description
The IGL trial protocol DINNOS document presents an overview of the project. Specifically, the document includes the following sections:
1. Introduction
2. Motivation and setting
3. Participants, interventions, and outcomes
4. Logic model
5. Trial design
6. Randomisation and assignment
7. Statistical analysis
8. Power and sample size
9. Recruitment and data collection
10. Implementation and process evaluation
11. Ethics
12. Risks
13. Timeline
IGL trial protocol DINNOS

MD5: aabe40dbabaaacf72559194fdd1ec1dd

SHA1: c3f4ea4a3123779e1dc48a4d9dec6f8d780c0636

Uploaded At: August 13, 2020


Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number