Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Alfred E. Thal, Jr., PhD.


Full knowledge of a customer's true unmet need should improve the likelihood of providing that customer with an Option that meets the need. Since there is inherent risk in making any change, that customer will be more likely to accept the risk they more they understand the option. Both the customer and the solution provider possess knowledge that the other needs, knowledge which is often highly contextual and difficult to transfer, and thus a sufficiently close relationship between the customer and the solution provider should improve this knowledge transfer. It is, however, exceedingly difficult to measure this relationship, or the level of understanding achieved, and its impact on the adoption of an innovative solution due the wide range of conditions under which change takes place. There is a concern that involving the customer will tend to lead to more constraints and desires being expressed by the customer. Projects conducted under the U.S. Air Force Core Process Three (CP-3) program, which share a number of common traits, served as the basis for this research in isolating the effect of customer engagement on innovation adoption. Technologists in CP-3 projects were surveyed for their assessments of customer engagement, their own understanding of the customer's true need, and the risk they felt the customer was willing to accept. This research showed that customer engagement does lead to an increase in the understanding of the need and, further, that higher levels of engagement lead to a convergent customer voice that does not result in an increase in customer requirements.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number