SALT LAKE CITY — Top researchers from across the country, along with various brands and local celebrities gathered in Salt Lake City last week for Utah County-based Qualtrics' Insight Summit.

Among those who shared the latest in business trends, academic research and market ideas were Qualtrics' own CEO Ryan Smith -- named by Forbes as one of America's Most Promising CEOs Under 35 in 2013 -- "Freakanomics" author Stephen J Dubner, Teddy Goff with Precision Strategies and former Digital Director for the Obama reelection campaign, Bruce Temkin and Eagle Mountain's own Olympic Silver Medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace.

Approximately 1,300 people attended the second summit, held annually in February, for the purpose of sharing insight on the data gathered via Qualtrics and the problems that often accompany collecting and working with data.

"The Insight Summit is an important way for us to highlight some of the most impactful things people are doing with Qualtrics," said Wyatt Semanek, a public and analyst relations manager at Qualtrics, in an email. "It's also incredibly important to us to bring our customers together in one place so they can meet each other, compare notes and talk about how they're tackling major problems and developing solutions. The Insight Summit is the perfect place for customers to come from all over the world to do that ..."

Qualtrics' CEO Ryan Smith emphasized the company's increasing ability to change business and government -- which was clearly illustrated during a panel discussing the research of Jennifer J. Freyd, Chrystal Redekopp and Bridget Nichols. The three women from various universities across the U.S. spoke of their research on body image, police brutality, health choices and sexual assault on campuses which they are utilizing in real world training.

Pikus-Pace, now pregnant with her third child, shared her story of struggle in becoming an Olympic skeleton racer and the injuries and motivations that were a part of it. Though the Winter Olympics in Sochi were just one year ago, the emotion for Pikus-Pace still ran high as she recalled her journey, from tragic injury in 2005 to finishing fourth place in the 2010 Winter Olympics and finally securing a silver medal in 2014. 

"We always have a choice," she said. "It begins in our minds."

Though lesser known, Teddy Goff also spoke and answered questions at the business summit. Goff's work has previously been described by various publications like TIME as having redefined the "limits of viral politics." While his work in the political sphere has been wildly successful, Goff was equally insistent that persuadability applies in the commercial sector as well. There are rapid changes to the way people consume information now. 

According to Goff, Facebook is not dying anytime soon, though other social media like Snapchat and Instagram have created a divided media environment. This requires companies to be smarter and scrappier on how consumers are reached.

Focusing more on consumers, Bruce Temkin -- a customer experience transformist with Tempkin Group -- spoke to summit attendees on five CX trends: anticipating experiences, mobile first, value as a service, continuous insights and the power of culture. 

Temkin said customer service across the U.S. is getting better; however, the world is changing, particularly in regard to mobile first. Temkin urged brands and businesses to design for that function or integrate a redesign process built around mobile. 

The growing summit and large scale of ideas and work are only a small indication of the Utah company's current and future success, many suspect.

"Qualtrics is ubiquitous throughout Utah companies and universities," Semanek said. "We love Utah. We'll always be based in Utah and will bring the Insight Summit back to Utah every year. We had over 40 Utah-based companies and universities in attendance at the summit.

Smith founded Qualtrics in 2002. In Oct. 2014, the company launched Vocalize, a Voice of the Customer solution, to provide businesses like JetBlue Airways and HireVue a platform to obtain customer feedback, expectations and product improvement. 

Daily Herald Community & Business Editor Jordan Carroll can be reached at or on Twitter @jordanec

Jordan Carroll is the executive editor at the Daily Herald.

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