A Conversation with Duncan Lennox

The other day I had a chance to catch up with Duncan Lennox, the CEO and co-founder of a fascinating company called Qstream. Qstream is a mobile sales enablement and analytics company spun off from Harvard University to bring a unique and scientifically-proven knowledge retention and analytics methodology to a wider audience. Duncan is passionate technologist who enjoys bridging the gap between theory and application and mapping out strategies and solutions that allow technology to be leveraged in new and unique ways

Here is part of our conversation.

Kapp: Can you tell us a little about your company, Qstream. What do you do, how long have you been around and what is your primary product?

Lennox: Qstream is a scientifically proven method for developing long-term retention and behavior change in professional sales teams. We are a spin-off of Harvard, based on the research of Harvard Medical School associate professor Dr. B. Price Kerfoot, and a pioneer at blending aspects of mobile, gamification, big data and neuroscience to boost on-the-job performance. Sales reps use our solution to respond to fun, scenario-based challenges in just minutes a day on their smartphone. Through push notifications, an easy-to-use interface and the application of scoring and leaderboards, we see regular engagement levels of 94% or higher. We’ve developed a rather sophisticated analytics engine that uses the data to deliver important management insights on the capabilities of client-facing teams. We got started on this about 5 years ago, and today Qstream is used by category leaders across life sciences, healthcare, high tech and financial services.

Kapp: Sounds like a great solution using some interesting cutting edge research, can you tell me how you developed and implemented the concept?

Lennox: Spaced education was initially developed and rigorously studied by Dr. Kerfoot as a method to improve the long-term knowledge retention of medical trainees. Qstream incorporates the “spacing” and “testing” effects into a simple, mobile delivery platform that engages users in the active recall of critical material over brief intervals of time. The technology was originally developed at the Harvard Office of Technology and later commercialized by Qstream.

The solution is designed from the ground up for large-scale enterprise deployments, and managed with a multi-tenant SaaS infrastructure, which ensures that is both secure and super simple to deploy. Every day the platform delivers tens of thousands of challenges via app notifications and email while constantly recalculating individual delivery schedules using Qstream’s patented adaptive algorithm.

Right now we support 10 languages in desktop, tablet and mobile environments, and our servers continually sift through response data to provide real-time analytics to the organizations we serve. This makes it the ideal solution for large, global sales teams who need a fast, reliable solution.

Kapp: What kind of success have your clients found with this kind of approach to learning? Does it seem strange to them since it is not a typical classroom approach?

Lennox: Technology enables us to solve educational challenges beyond the classroom by literally putting the solution in users’ hands. Our customers continuously remark how much their reps love Qstream. That’s because it fits nicely into their on-the-go lifestyle, and only consumes minutes a day.

Rather than taking reps out of the field for ongoing training, the application is designed to keep reps in the field while they’re improving selling skills, reinforcing product knowledge and gaining a competitive edge. Customers compare Qstream to having access to a one-on-one coach, which speaks volumes about the value recognized by their sales force. In fact, in one recent study by a large global medical device provider, Qstream delivered results statistically equivalent to personalized coaching. And because of the high adoption rate by reps, we’re even seeing customers changing their selling process to include Qstream going forward.

Kapp: Interesting, where can someone learn more about your solution?

Lennox: We’ve got a quick 2-minute video that you can watch at: Qstream in 2 minutes. Or, reps and managers can experience Qstream first-hand by requesting a free trial at Qstream.com. They’ll love competing with peers for points on the leaderboard while strengthening their knowledge in just minutes a day.

Catch the Qstream video

Kapp: Do you have any advice for my graduate students in Instructional Technology who will be shortly entering the field?

Lennox: Based on the results of more than two dozen randomized clinical trials comparing Qstream’s approach to traditional reinforcement methods, the most efficient path to sustainable learning starts with knowledge of how the human brain forms patterns – and optimally encodes information into memory. Use this understanding to select technology that fits into the user’s life, keeps them engaged and tests their understanding of required knowledge in a fast and easy format. With the rise of mobile, gamification and big data, there’s truly never been a more exciting time to build the type of solution that will help you achieve your business goals more effectively or cost-efficiently. So get started now!

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