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Qualtrics Insights Summit Day 2: Reaching New Heights

The sun rose early in Salt Lake City (or at least it felt like it!) and our morning keynote sessions started off with neuroscience and math...before 9am! A hard sell? Not if the audience is a group of researchers, and not if the speaker is Dr. David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work and director of the NeuroLeadership Institute. 

Rock is fascinated by how the brain finds insights, and what state the brain needs to be in for insights to happen. Rock shared how the brain constantly toggles between 'toward' and 'away' states and neuroscience has shown that the brain has a much higher capacity for insights in a toward state, and you need to get your clients in that state too for them to be more open to insights. It's important to use data to facilitate insights rather than use data to create a defensive position/threat state in your client (the 'away' state).  

What's the ideal brain state for insights to happen? Quiet, inward-looking, slightly happy, not directly working on the problem...and sleep is also big. Afterwards, the room was buzzing about facilitating insights through sleep pods, yoga at work, and why insights often happen in the shower.

Next up was the engineering portion of the morning, and it was one of the most entertaining and lively sessions of the conference (new hashtag: #engineerswithpersonality)! This section was kicked off by Jared Smith (brother of CEO Ryan Smith) sharing the hypergrowth story of engineering at Qualtrics and why he left Google for Qualtrics. Smith was followed by Steve Brain, head of engineering, formerly of, and denizen of "business casual, Park City-style."  

"I was told to wear a jacket and look smart. This is business casual, Park City-style"
The engineering team introduced new product features including One-Click NPS,  a "Survey Health" dashboard, some snazzy new SMS survey options (demoed live during the session), and some other great features which for all intents and purposes remove the need to pull data out of the survey system to manipulate in Excel. There was lots of chatter, applause, and a few 'awesome' exclamations from the audience as the new features were introduced.

Johannes Seemann was on hand next from IDEO to discussing design thinking and share a case study of creating new lunch experiences for the San Franscisco schools. Seemann's talk provided actionable takeaways and examples of combining stories with data for greater impact. 

The excitement in the room (remember, a room of researchers) was palpable for the next two speakers, the co-authors of The Ultimate Question 2.0. How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World Fred Reichheld, the father of Net Promoter, and Rob Markey. Reichheld spoke to the genesis story of NPS, how loyalty is tied to growth, and the need just not to measure NPS but to create a system. Markey followed that up with examples of how NPS systems are created and highlighted the key NPS system requirements including a reliable outcome metric, closed-loop feedback, learning and action, and strategic priority to earn loyalty.

After lunch the breakout sessions continued, covering topics from employee engagement to mobile surveys and special tips for increasing survey response rates. 

After a short break to shop at the #Qswag store, make some additional networking contacts and answer some emails, it was off to a winter wonderland-themed dinner with an Olympic twist in honor of the Games in Sochi. The high-flying entertainment was provided by the Flying Ace All-Stars - a group of Olympic freestyle skiiers, trampoliners and stuntmen in double-trampolines. Quite a show! 

Overall, from an event organizer's perspective (part of what my company does is produce large-scale tradeshows and conference) the Qualtrics team pulled off quite a feat for an inaugural event. By selecting a great venue (I definitely recommend the Grand America), booking fantastic keynote speakers, enlisting key 'name' clients for sessions, and somehow getting Boyz II Men and Third Eye Blind, they pulled off an event that had halls buzzing this afternoon about how Qualtrics was going to top this next year.

And the team was always iterating. As researchers, I think it warmed our hearts when after filling out a survey last evening regarding Day 1, several logistical changes were implemented for Day 2 (add more Q&A, get the camera boom out of eyeline, etc).  It was clear that the information was not only gathered last night, but analyzed and discussed by the team and changes implemented before start of Day 2. I'm not sure when (or if) the team is sleeping, but I was impressed by the acknowledgement of feedback and the quick implementation of changes.   

Additional feedback I heard around the halls today included how congenial and friendly the Qualtrics user base is, as a result networking seemed more "open and easy" than some other events.  

Garrya Dunston, institutional assessment coordinator at Savannah State University, said today something that I think many of us felt: "It's the first one, but the inaugural Qualtrics Insights Summit feels like a reunion." 

Can't wait for next year! Safe travels back home to all our new Qstar friends.



Qualtrics Insights Summit Day 1: Celebrate Good Times

Want to be treated like a rockstar (and see some real rockstars)? Become a Qualtrics customer. 

The first day of the inaugural Qualtrics Insights Summit started was energizing, and full of learning and networking. 

The stage is set...
CEO Ryan Smith kicked off the day with an energizing, heartfelt and future-focused keynote bringing the audience on the journey of the company genesis story starting in not a garage but a basement, Smith's parents' basement. With a laser-focus on making data collection faster and easier for researchers, Smith has taken the company from the basement to the Summit. Qualtrics is in hypergrowth mode, quadrupling their engineering team to keep up with new customers and demand. With 5000+ corporate users, a million enterprise users, and "at least a thousand in this room, we're a long way from that basement when no-one would listen to us" said Smith. He also teased some new product updates to be announced tomorrow.

And just like Google, Qualtrics is fast on it's way to becoming a verb. Overheard at a business school recently (most of the top business schools are customers): if the answer needs to be sought out through customer feedback, "just Qualtrics it." 

Next up was Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, the founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight and the author of New York Times bestseller Predictably Irrational. Ariely kept the energy going with stories ranging from pain testing (from burn units to vises to leg waxing) to manipulating behavior to combat obesity...and redesigning men's urinals (yep, you read that right). 

The theme throughout was honing in on those forces that shape our decisions or in some cases indecision. A key insight? When faced with a big decision, people can freeze...thus by default leaving the decision up to the person who designed the form (in his example an organ donation form). Ariely reminded us all that environment and details matter, and there are benefits to obsessively figuring out those barriers to good behavior.

Qualtrics has an impressive customer roster, and several were on stage this morning in a customer showcase: Lisa Wolfe from DeVry Education Group, Charan Nagaraj from Hewlett Packard, Richard Shakarchi from E*TRADE and Rebecca Crotts from eBay. 

Wolfe shared how DeVry has used Qualtrics' Research Suite to streamline their market research and build a full Voice of Customer platform.   Nagaraj shared his goal at HP, to "turn terabytes of data to byte-sized insights!"  He emphasized that business intelligence and measurement cannot be an afterthought and need to be considered during research design, and shared how HP has shifted to much more open-ended feedback via text boxes. We heard how Shakarchi was able to get a seat at the executive table through research and insights, and how Crotts and eBay are honing in on what drives employee satisfaction at eBay - a strong sense of the company's purpose.

After a break for lunch we headed into a variety of breakout sessions to take us through the afternoon. Sessions ranged in topic type from software-specific learning in sessions like "Advanced Survey Creation Recipes for the Research Suite Master Chef" and "Reporting Basics" to more industry-wide topics like "Voice of the Customer Best Practices and Key Trends" with Bruce Temkin and "The Mobile Survey Revolution."

What's was on deck for the evening? Nothing less than what the hashtag says: #partylikeaQstar! 

After dinner, the night kicked off with a concert by Boyz II Men, followed by Third Eye Blind rocking the house. This was definitely not your average conference entertainment! 

Boyz II Men and Third Eye Blind
Stay tuned for more tweets tomorrow, and a day two wrap-up from the Summit. 



Reaching the Summit

The suitcase is almost packed and I'm in the midst of organizing charging cords for my iPad, iPhone, laptop, Google Glass, etc. Notebooks, pens, and business cards - check!

Next week is the Qualtrics Insights Summit. Industry leaders, Qualtrics product experts and users from around the country will gather in Salt Lake City for two days to hear great keynotes, participate in breakout sessions, network, and take advantage of 'ask the expert' sessions with Qualtrics staff.  

Full disclosure, we are very new clients of Qualtrics, just as of January 1st. So my team is still in training mode learning the software and all it can do. So the Summit couldn't have come at a better time to ask lots (and lots) of questions!

It will be great to see and hear the always fabulous Dan Ariely, Fred Reichheld, Bruce Temkin and other speakers...and two of my favorite client-side researchers Marisa Paruch and Susan Topel (I blogged about Susan's talk at TMRE here and Marisa's work here).  

I'll be interested to see how the Qualtrics team weaves in this year’s conference theme of “Be Right” – to helping us gather the insights needed to make the right decisions for our organizations. 

I'll be live-tweeting the keynote sessions and some of the breakout sessions (for the latter I'll likely be furiously taking notes to bring back to the office) so keep a watch on Twitter @InsightsGal for the play by play, and I'll be posting recaps of Wednesday and Thursday here on the blog. 

Also, this will be the first time I'll be able to really use my Glass in a conference setting. As I mentioned in my previous blog, I hope to be doing a lot more test driving of Glass this spring as I travel to conferences and do research at our own company events and tradeshows. 

Not that it's all work and no play! Nope, that's why they have a #partylikeaQstar hashtag. Seriously! The entertainment for the Summit includes Boyz II Men and Third Eye Blind. You can bet I'll use that hashtag once or twice, just because I can.

I have crazy love for the mountains, and I'm hoping that my hotel room looks out at the beautiful Wasatch Range (fingers crossed!). I'm also looking forward to hearing from speakers and research and software experts that help us all make sense of mountains of data (see what I did there?). 

If you will be at the Summit next week, please do stop by and say hello - I'd love to meet or reconnect. Just look for the gal with the Glass - I won't be hard to find!