Social Network Analysis for an Innovation System Generated Starting from an Agent-Based Simulation Model

  • Juan F. Franco-Bermúdez Universidad Nacional de Colombia
  • Walter L. Ruiz-Castañeda Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Keywords: Social Network Analysis, innovation system, Agent-Based Simulation, Innovation Capabilities


The following work presents the results obtained after a Social Network Analysis applied to an innovation system, with the particularity that the system is generated starting from an Agent-Based Simulation model. The main objective of this work is to show that the combination of both methodologies (Social Network Analysis and Agent-Based Simulation) could be successful to obtain new findings and contributes to understanding how the innovation systems conform and behave. The simulation allows to observe how the system emerges and study its behaviors, it shows how the innovation capabilities of the agents condition their relationship and how these relationships determine their adaptation, specialization, their survival over time and the evolution of the network itself. Subsequently, the Social Network Analysis allows to understand the relational structure of the system and how it affects its behavior, the analysis is applied in four moments of time which are separated from each other by five periods, and in each of them different network indicators are analyzed, both at the nodal level and the structural level. The constructed analysis serves as a tool for understanding and guidance to governments for the formulation of policies associated with regional and national innovation systems. Finally, it is shown how, from virtual micro-worlds, important information can be extracted about the dynamics of the innovation systems, thus opening the possibility of answering questions of the type What would happen if ...?


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Juan F. Franco-Bermúdez, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Ingeniero industrial, Departamento de Ingeniería de la Organización, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellín-Colombia,

Walter L. Ruiz-Castañeda, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

PhD en Ingeniería Industrial y Organizaciones, MBA, Departamento de Ingeniería de la Organización, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellín-Colombia,


N. Aguilar-Gallegos, E. G. Martínez-González, J. Aguilar-Ávila, H. Santoyo-Cortés, M. Muñoz-Rodríguez, and E. I. García-Sánchez, “Análisis de redes sociales para catalizar la innovación agrícola: de los vínculos directos a la integración y radialidad,” Estud. Gerenciales, vol. 32, no. 140, pp. 197–207, Jul. 2016.

C. Freeman and L. Soete, The Economics of Industrial Innovation, 1st ed. London: Rutledge Taylor and Francis Group, 1997.

B. Lundvall, “National Innovation Systems—Analytical Concept and Development Tool,” Ind. Innov., vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 95–119, Feb. 2007.

N. Aguilar Gallegos, J. A. Olvera Martínez, E. G. González Martínez, J. Aguilar Ávila, M. Muñoz Rodríguez, and H. Santoyo Cortés, “The network intervention for catalysing agricultural innovation,” Redes. Rev. Hisp. para el análisis redes Soc., vol. 28, no. 1, p. 9, May 2017.

J. Robledo-Velásquez, Introducción a la Gestión de la Tecnología y la Innovación. Medellín: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2017.

M. Soto, “Transferencia Tecnológica, ¿Qué podemos aprender de la experiencia internacional?,” J. Technol. Manag. Innov., vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 1–3, 2006.

C. J. R. Benítez, “Estrategias Territoriales de Innovación y Transferencia de Tecnología,” Cienc. en su PC, no. 2, pp. 1–10, 2007.

B. Weber and S. Heidenreich, “When and with whom to cooperate? Investigating effects of cooperation stage and type on innovation capabilities and success,” Long Range Plann., vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 334–350, Apr. 2018.

W. L. Ruiz Castañeda, S. Quintero Ramírez, and J. Robledo Velásquez, “Impacto de los Intermediarios en los Sistemas de Innovación,” J. Technol. Manag. Innov., vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 130–138, Jun. 2016.

D. Ernst, L. Mytelka, and T. Ganiatsos, “Technological capabilities in the context of export-led growth. A conceptual framework,” in Technological Capabilities and Export Success in Asia, Routledge, Ed. Routledge, 2003, pp. 21–61.

W. L. R. Castañeda, “Análisis del impacto de los intermediarios en los sistemas de innovación: Una propuesta desde el modelado basado en agentes,” Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellín, 2016.

M. Mitchell, Complexity: A Guided Tour. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

D. A. Luke and K. A. Stamatakis, “Systems science methods in public health: dynamics, networks, and agents.,” Annu. Rev. Public Health, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 357–76, Apr. 2012.

M. Semitiel and P. Noguera, “Los Sistemas Productivos Regionales desde la perspectiva del Análisis de Redes,” Rev. Hisp. para el análisis redes Soc., vol. 6, pp. 79–105, 2004.

T. L. Frantz, “Advancing Complementary and Alternative Medicine through Social Network Analysis and Agent-Based Modeling,” Forschende Komplementärmedizin / Res. Complement. Med., vol. 19, no. s1, pp. 36–41, 2012.

R. Aziza, A. Borgi, H. Zgaya, and B. Guinhouya, “Simulating Complex systems: Complex system theories, their behavioural characteristics and their simulation,” in 8th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence, 2016.

M. Granovetter, “The Strength of Weak Ties: A Network Theory Revisited,” Sociol. Theory, vol. 1, pp. 201–233, 1983.

R. Burt and M. Minor, Applied Network Analysis: A Methodological Introduction, 1st ed. Chicago: Sage Publications, 1983.

L. S. Menéndez, “Análisis de redes sociales: o cómo representar las estructuras sociales subyacentes,” Apunt. Cienc. y Tecnol., no. 7, pp. 21–29, 2003.

M. S. Granovetter, “The Strength of Weak Ties,” in Social Networks, vol. 78, no. 6, Elsevier, 1977, pp. 347–367.

R. Burt, Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992.

T. Frantsi, V. Harmaakorpi, and S. Parjanen, “Collective creaticity and brokerage functions in heavily cross-disciplined innovation processes,” Interdiscip. J. Information, Knowledge, Manag., vol. 5, pp. 1–21, 2010.

S. Parjanen, H. Melkas, and T. Uotila, “Distances, Knowledge Brokerage and Absorptive Capacity in Enhancing Regional Innovativeness: A Qualitative Case Study of Lahti Region, Finland,” Eur. Plan. Stud., vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 921–948, Jun. 2011.

R. Smits, “Innovation studies in the 21st century;,” Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change, vol. 69, no. 9, pp. 861–883, Dec. 2002.

G. M. Winch and R. Courtney, “The Organization of Innovation Brokers: An International Review,” Technol. Anal. Strateg. Manag., vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 747–763, Nov. 2007.

A. Hargadon and R. I. Sutton, “Technology brokering and innovation in a product development firm,” Adm. Sci. Q., vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 716–749, 1997.

H. E. Aldrich and M. A. Von Glinow, “Business start-ups: the HRM imperative,” in International Perspectives on Entrepreneurial Research, S. Birley, Ed. New York: North-Holland, 1992, pp. 233–253.

K. G. Provan and S. E. Human, “Organizational learning and the role of the network broker in small-firm manufacturing networks,” in Interfirm Networks: Organization and Industrial Competitiveness, A. Grandori, Ed. London: Routledge Studies in Business Organizations and Networks, 1999, pp. 185–207.

N. Suvinen, J. Konttinen, and M. Nieminen, “How Necessary are Intermediary Organizations in the Commercialization of Research?,” Eur. Plan. Stud., vol. 18, no. 9, pp. 1365–1389, Sep. 2010.

S. A. Roxas, G. Piroli, and M. Sorrentino, “Efficiency and evaluation analysis of a network of technology transfer brokers,” Technol. Anal. Strateg. Manag., vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 7–24, 2011.

E. Autio, S. Kanninen, and R. Gustafsson, “First- and second-order additionality and learning outcomes in collaborative R&D programs,” Res. Policy, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 59–76, Feb. 2008.

J. Nahapiet and S. Ghoshal, “Social capital, intellectual capital, and the organizational advantage,” Acad. Manag. Rev., vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 242–266, 1998.

M. Callon, “The state technical innovation: a case study of the electric vehicle in France,” Res. Policy, vol. 9, pp. 358–376, 1980.

M. Callon, “Is Science a Public Good? Fifth Mullins Lecture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 23 March 1993,” Sci. Technol. Hum. Values, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 395–424, Oct. 1994.

B. van der Meulen and A. Rip, “Mediation in the Dutch science system,” Res. Policy, vol. 27, no. 8, pp. 757–769, Dec. 1998.

B. McEvily and A. Zaheer, “Bridging ties: a source of firm heterogeneity in competitive capabilities,” Strateg. Manag. J., vol. 20, pp. 1133–1156, 1999.

J. D. Wolpert, “Breaking out of the innovation box,” Harv. Bus. Rev., vol. 80, no. 8, pp. 76–83, Aug. 2002.

M. Pérez Pérez and A. M. Sánchez, “The development of university spin-offs: early dynamics of technology transfer and networking,” Technovation, vol. 23, no. 10, pp. 823–831, Oct. 2003.

L. Dahlander, Managing beyond firm boundaries: Leveraging user innovation networks. Chalmers University of Technology, 2006.

S. D. Pawlowski and D. Robey, “Bridging User Organizations: Knowledge Brokering and the Work of Information Technology Professionals,” MIS Q., vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 645–672, 2004.

L. Klerkx and A. Proctor, “Beyond fragmentation and disconnect: Networks for knowledge exchange in the English land management advisory system,” Land use policy, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 13–24, Jan. 2013.

T. Hahn, P. Olsson, C. Folke, and K. Johansson, “Trust-building, Knowledge Generation and Organizational Innovations: The Role of a Bridging Organization for Adaptive Comanagement of a Wetland Landscape around Kristianstad, Sweden,” Hum. Ecol., vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 573–592, Oct. 2006.

J. Sapsed, A. Grantham, and R. DeFillippi, “A bridge over troubled waters: Bridging organisations and entrepreneurial opportunities in emerging sectors,” Res. Policy, vol. 36, no. 9, pp. 1314–1334, Nov. 2007.

W. P. Boon, E. H. Moors, R. Nahuis, and R. L. Vandeberg, “User-producer interactions in emerging pharmaceutical and food innovations,” Int. J. Innov. Manag., vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 459–487, 2008.

M. Dobbins et al., “A description of a knowledge broker role implemented as part of a randomized controlled trial evaluating three knowledge translation strategies,” Implement. Sci., vol. 4, no. 1, p. 23, Dec. 2009.

Y. Kirkels and G. Duysters, “Brokerage in SME networks,” Res. Policy, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 375–385, Apr. 2010.

J. Wu, M. Liu, Z. Li, and Y. Wang, “Cluster Density, External Search and Innovation Performance: Evidence from the ZGC Science Park,” in 2010 International Conference on Management and Service Science, 2010, pp. 1–4.

O. Gassmann, M. Daiber, and E. Enkel, “The role of intermediaries in cross-industry innovation processes,” R&D Manag., vol. 41, no. 5, pp. 457–469, Nov. 2011.

S. Nambisan and M. Sawhney, “Orchestration processes in network-centric innovation: Evidence from the field,” Acad. Manag. Perspect., vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 40–57, 2011.

H. Graf, “Gatekeepers in regional networks of innovators,” Cambridge J. Econ., vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 173–198, Jan. 2011.

S. Wasserman and K. Faust, Social Network Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

N. Aguilar, E. Martínez, and J. Aguilar, Análisis de Redes Sociales: Conceptos Clave y Cálculo de Indicadores. Chapingo: Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, 2017.

P. G. Reca, “Capital social y desarrollo económico. Un estudio de las redes de innovación en España,” Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, 2011.

M. Albornoz and C. Alfaraz, “Diseño de una metodología para la medición del impacto de los centros de excelencia. Documento de Trabajo,” Redes Cent. Estud. sobre Ciencia, Desarro. y Educ. Super., p. 33, 2008.

A. Borshchev and A. Filippov, “From System Dynamics and Discrete Event to Practical Agent Based Model: Reasons, Techniques, Tools,” in The 22nd International System Dynamics Conference, 2004, p. 23.

R. Axelrod, “Advancing the Art of Simulation in the Social Sciences,” in Handbook of Research on Nature Inspired Computing for Economy and Management, Hershey: Idea Group Reference, 1997, pp. 21–40.

H. Rahmandad and J. Sterman, “Heterogeneity and Network Structure in the Dynamics of Diffusion: Comparing Agent-Based and Differential Equation Models,” Manage. Sci., vol. 54, no. 5, pp. 998–1014, May 2008.

E. Kiesling, M. Günther, C. Stummer, and L. M. Wakolbinger, “Agent-based simulation of innovation diffusion: a review,” Cent. Eur. J. Oper. Res., vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 183–230, Jun. 2012.

J. García and F. Sancho, NetLogo: Una Herramienta de Modelado. Laboratorio CulturePlex, 2016.

J. García-Valdecasas, Simulación Basada en Agentes. Introducción a NetLogo. Madrid: Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas, 2016.

J. Barney, “Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage,” J. Manage., vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 99–120, Mar. 1991.

E. Pnerose, The Theory of the Growth of the Firm, 4th ed. New York: John Wiley, 1959.

B. Wernerfelt, “A resource-based view of the firm,” Strateg. Manag. J., vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 171–180, Apr. 1984.

D. J. Teece, G. Pisano, and A. Shuen, “Dynamic capabilities and strategic management,” Strateg. Manag. J., vol. 18, no. 7, pp. 509–533, Aug. 1997.

P. Bonacich, “Power and Centrality: a Family of Measures,” Am. J. Sociol., vol. 92, no. 5, pp. 1170–1182, 1987.

R. L. de Andrade and L. C. Rêgo, “The use of nodes attributes in social network analysis with an application to an international trade network,” Phys. A Stat. Mech. its Appl., vol. 491, pp. 249–270, Feb. 2018.

M. H. Batterink, E. F. M. Wubben, L. Klerkx, and S. W. F. (Onno) Omta, “Orchestrating innovation networks: The case of innovation brokers in the agri-food sector,” Entrep. Reg. Dev., vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 47–76, Jan. 2010.

L. Klerkx, A. Hall, and C. Leeuwis, “Strengthening agricultural innovation capacity: are innovation brokers the answer?,” Int. J. Agric. Resour. Gov. Ecol., vol. 8, no. 5/6, p. 409, 2009.

L. Klerkx and C. Leeuwis, “Matching demand and supply in the agricultural knowledge infrastructure: Experiences with innovation intermediaries,” Food Policy, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 260–276, Jun. 2008.

M. Ramirez, P. Bernal, I. Clarke, and I. Hernandez, “The role of social networks in the inclusion of small-scale producers in agri-food developing clusters,” Food Policy, vol. 77, pp. 59–70, May 2018.

S. Monaghan, J. Lavelle, and P. Gunnigle, “Mapping networks: Exploring the utility of social network analysis in management research and practice,” J. Bus. Res., vol. 76, pp. 136–144, Jul. 2017.

L. Freeman, “Centrality in social networks conceptual clarification,” Cent. Soc. networks, no. 1, pp. 215–239, 1978.

S. Q. Ramírez, W. L. Ruiz Castañeda, and J. R. Velásquez, “Representation of unlearning in the innovation systems: A proposal from agent-based modeling,” Estud. Gerenciales, vol. 33, no. 145, pp. 366–376, Oct. 2017.

S. Quintero Ramirez, W. L. Ruiz Castañeda, and J. Robledo Velásquez, “Aprendizaje en los sistemas regionales de innovación: Un modelo basado en agentes,” Cuad. Adm., vol. 33, no. 57, pp. 7–20, Oct. 2017.

D. Watts and S. Strogatz, “Collective dynamics of small-worldnetworks,” Nature, vol. 393, no. 6684, pp. 440–442, 1998.

B. Carlsson, S. Jacobsson, M. Holmén, and A. Rickne, “Innovation systems: analytical and methodological issues,” Res. Policy, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 233–245, Feb. 2002.

J. Robledo-Velásquez, Introducción a la Gestión Tecnológica. Medellín: Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Medellín, 2017.

How to Cite
Franco-Bermúdez, J., & Ruiz-Castañeda, W. (2019). Social Network Analysis for an Innovation System Generated Starting from an Agent-Based Simulation Model. TecnoLógicas, 22(44), 21-44.
Research Papers