The networking methodology was applied to the ISM process. Guidelines how to use the networking methods and “tricks” were prepared to support this innovative communication and intervention principle in the ISM trainings. Guidelines are devoted to trainers of the ISM method but also to the extension advisors who work with farmers groups in building networks. Some methods could also be used in any kind of trainings and student classes, as an “icebreakers”.
This methodology has several components illustrating a new way of communication and learning:
- Network development. In this case networks are the vehicles for development. The facilitator is subject matter specialist with an affinity for group work. Farmers with a similar goal are guided to fill in their goal in cooperation. Know how is added to the group process. Experience was that “knowledge of optimisation”, “knowledge for a change of track”, “knowledge as a weapon” and “knowledge as a continuous learning process” are mostly requested as input. Network development can be a follow up step of the ISM-process for farmers motivated to do so.
- The Agro Growth Accelerator concept contributes directly to promotion of lifelong learning. It stimulates own action, although again a group process takes place. It is about learning to do things differently than is commonplace such that the participating entrepreneur can see opportunities and responds (or responds differently) to these opportunities for his/her operation. This by facilitating achievements, like response to developments within the market chain, to specific needs in the region, application of technologies, creation of non-agricultural activities, effective networking and cooperation. Some of these overlap with the ISM-method. We used this experiences.
- Entrepreneurs’ academy. This is a flexible network exposing farmers with new insights by interventions, for instance exposing them to “outsiders and high achievers”. This can be executed in combination with component 2.
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