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What Is NASA Customer Engagement?

Within NASA what is meant by "Customer Engagement" is still emerging. Indeed, examination of what Customer Engagement entails is fair game for your proposal.

This is not to say that a great deal of thinking about Customer Engagement hasn't been undertaken; indeed, it has. The following sets forth some of that thinking:

  • Customer engagement is the process by which NASA determines what within its mission constitutes value to its customers, and then shapes its programs and activities to deliver it.

  • A central element of a Customer Engagement program is Communication - an activity which informs, interests and excites, and which is a prelude to delivering value.

  • Delivery of value requires an understanding of what constitutes value, and to whom. It requires a careful assessment of customers, stakeholders and value areas. Delivery of value requires intentional and deliberate action based on this assessment.

  • The concept of customer is meaningful and must be defined in such a way that what constitutes value can be determined.

  • A specific customer is any person or group who expends some effort or resource to receive value from NASA. Their effort can range from writing a letter to developing a payload to fly on the Shuttle or Space Station. NASA's delivery of value, both in content and the delivery mechanisms involved, should be tailored to the customer's definition of value.

  • Customers are also defined in terms of customer segments, groupings of people meeting four criteria: adequate size, measurable, accessible, and distinguishable from other customer segments.

  • Customer is not equivalent to beneficiary. All customers are beneficiaries, not all beneficiaries are customers.

  • Stakeholders are people or entities who have a vested interest in the outcome of NASA programs and activities. Internal and external stakeholders include NASA employees, unions, contractors, advisory groups, the NASA Administrator, Administration, and Congress.

  • Stakeholders constitute a de facto NASA Board of Directors. They expect NASA to determine what constitutes value to its customers and then to deliver it.

  • Mars exploration customer value areas include:

    • Human experience: hope, drama, adventure, entertainment, wonder, excitement, vicarious space travel, etc.;

    • Knowledge,: scientific, medical, engineering, and exploration;

    • Space commerce: removing barriers, providing capability and incentives

    • Services: access to space, space platforms, space operations, payload processing, and rocket propulsion testing;

    • Education,: support to America's education goals; and,

    • Technology: mission-driven technology, opportunistic transfer of technology to non-mission applications.

2000 NASA Means Business Student Competition
What is NASA Customer Engagement? What Happened During NMB '99? The Need for a Business Plan Partnering NASA and the Universities


2000 NASA Means Business Student Competition is sponsored by NASA and is administered by Texas Space Grant Consortium.


Last Modified: Mon Oct 04, 1999