As of late, scholars of diverse disciplines observe the growing importance of social networks for sustainable development processes. However, in the social sciences concepts of Social Network Analysis (SNA) have been frequently used metaphorically for another purpose (Hwang and Moon 2009, 7). At the same time, metaphorical uses of models can be harmful. “Relying on metaphors as the foundation for policy advice can lead to results substantially different from those presumed to be likely” (Ostrom 2010). This paper argues that empirical techniques of SNA can support evidence-based decision making and policy advice. On this note, results of a theoretically based empirical study are introduced that illustrate why and how SNA provides innovative tools to foster learning processes and synergy effects, bring together key resources and technological know-how and promote advancements and the diffusion of innovative ideas. Furthermore, it is argued that SNA helps to interpret existing networks and to identify innovation potentials in order to generate new information and to reveal new options for further developments.