Interaction management in rural innovation processes
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Product innovation, production and marketing, results from the interaction among several actors. Thus, the hub extension model of the governmental program MasAgro seeks to be a space in which farmers, extension workers, input suppliers, government, teaching and research institutions, among others, interact with each other to generate individual and collective well-being through innovation. The aim of this work was to analyze the relational structures within the hubs. For this, we carried out direct interviews to 457 actors from 10 agroecological regions that comprise the hubs of the maize system in Mexico. Measurements recorded are density, closeness, transitivity, and relationships diversity indicators; and twice during the analysis: baseline and final line, through the social networks analysis methodology. A “t” test of related samples revealed that for the first three indicators, there is a statistically significant difference between the moments in time the analysis was carried out (p < 0.05). This indicates that in the hub the interaction between the actors have been managed, and has become a space in which local structure has been generated and relational capital has been maintained; and these are the basis of social capital necessary for the development of innovation processes in the rural sector. These findings can be useful for program managers and policy makers as a complementary tool for evaluating intervention strategies in the sector.