Insurance Customer Experience: What Trends and Priorities Matter Most

How to Level up the Insurance Customer Experience

Insurance companies have made meaningful strides in the digital realm over the last decade. For example, many have improved apps and websites for policyholders. They now use analytics to assess risk, detect fraud, and segment customers. Insurers are adding automation to streamline and improve underwriting, claims processing, and customer service. At the same time, usage-based insurance and other innovative products are growing more common. To compete in this evolving industry, companies must continue to invest in digital transformation and improving the insurance customer experience (CX).

Top Priorities for Improving the Customer Experience in Insurance

Strategic leaders and product owners know the importance of the digital experience for insurance customers. It’s about winning new customers and keeping the ones you already have. To do so, digital channels must extend their services, not just explain or promote them. Best-in-class experiences feature: 

  • Self-service options
  • User-centered interactions
  • Connected digital channels
  • Personalized, data-driven experiences

Let’s look at how to master each one.

Empower Insurance Customers with Self-Service

Customers want easy-to-use self-service options for getting things done. Policy renewal and updates, claims processing, document management, and customer support should all be available online. Adding these tools reduces the workload for agents. As a result, customers will no longer have to wait for the next available representative. Instead, they can manage policies and claims anytime on-demand. 

Design User-Centered Interactions

Applying user-centered design across platforms is essential to a good insurance customer experience. For insurers, the goal is to simplify something that was historically complex. Every task should be straightforward, from filing claims online to checking policy details. When an incident occurs, customers are already stressed. The last thing you want to do is make them feel worse. 

Think of digital claims filing and tracking as a starting point. It’s good, but it’s not enough. The next step is to streamline these and other processes. Specifically, you need intuitive interfaces and clear navigation pathways that help customers manage their insurance needs. 

When building and updating digital products, prioritize what is best for the user. User research and testing will help you pinpoint and address friction points in the customer journey. Straightaway, these efforts will reveal insights for revamping products and services to elevate customer satisfaction.

Unify the Insurance Customer Experience

Businesses often have websites, customer portals, mobile apps, chat systems, and more. Each platform should have streamlined workflows and a consistent experience. Ideally, your customers will be able to move between them with ease. User experience designers can help ensure this ease of use and consistency across channels. Creating seamless customer journeys will also likely require automating internal processes, improving data integrations, and modernizing backend systems.

Personalize Customer Journeys and Products with Data Analytics

One-size-fits-all policies are a thing of the past. Today, insurers use analytics to study individuals and strategic groups. They can learn about customer needs, behaviors, and preferences. This data can help personalize everything from how customers interact with digital channels to the policies and services they receive. 

Businesses can use data analytics to tailor their offerings and recommend policy changes that benefit customers. Insurance companies can also use analytics to create and target customer segments with personalized offers and communication. For example, predictive analytics can identify customers at risk of policy lapse or who need alternative coverage options. With these insights, you can proactively engage customers and address their needs. 

Moreover, data analytics allows you to continuously optimize digital experiences based on real-time feedback and performance metrics. By analyzing how customers interact with each channel, you can uncover areas for improvement and refine your strategies.

Digital Trends in Insurance Customer Experiences and Products

We’ve previously covered some critical digital transformation and CX opportunities for insurance companies. But while optimizing your product today, you must also prepare for tomorrow. Understanding changing customer preferences, technology advancements, and regulatory changes gives you market agility. In short, it keeps you from playing catch-up. To that end, here are some insurance customer experience trends and offerings that excite us.

Usage-based Insurance (UBI)

UBI is gaining popularity. It is especially prominent in auto insurance, where premiums fluctuate based on the actual usage of the insured vehicle. This trend follows the rise of telematics and IoT devices that track how we drive.

Ecosystem Partnerships

Insurance companies are forming alliances with other industries to bundle services and create more value for customers. For example, companies may offer insurance coverage as part of a car purchase or home rental.

Prevention and Wellness

Insurers are increasingly helping customers prevent risk and improve their health and well-being. They offer wellness programs, discounts for healthy behavior, and other proactive risk management services.

Integrated Payment Solutions

Integrating payment methods into digital platforms is convenient for customers. Further, this strategy expedites premium payments, refunds, and claims payouts. Options include automatic bank withdrawals, real-time payments, and mobile payment apps.

Embedded Insurance

When insurance is embedded into transactions and products in other industries (e.g., retail, travel, automotive), paying for insurance products becomes part of the overall purchase experience. It becomes more integrated and less intrusive for the customer.

Pay-Per-Use Models

Similar to UBI, pay-per-use models adjust premiums based on the actual use of the insured asset or service, directly tying payment to risk exposure.

Achieve Lasting Success in Insurance

The checklist for great insurance customer experiences and products includes user-centered design, self-service, data-driven personalization, and interconnected digital touchpoints. Lasting success requires a comprehensive, forward-thinking strategy that prioritizes customer wants and needs. By doing so, insurance companies can meet evolving expectations and forge more substantial, meaningful connections, driving growth and success in the digital era.

If you want to level up your customer experience, Robots & Pencils can help. We work with leaders across industries to build high-impact digital experiences that create and accelerate business revenue. Complete our contact form or email to learn more.

4 Common Barriers to Organizational Innovation

As we help organizations undergo digital transformation and launch innovative new products, the same issues keep popping up. Below are the most common barriers to organizational innovation we encounter and advice on how you can overcome them.

Top Barriers to Organizational Innovation and Change

Barrier 1: Not Actively Encouraging New Ideas

To facilitate innovation, everyone must know their ideas are welcome, no matter their role or seniority. Innovation challenges, competitions, or hackathons that involve everyone are a great way to encourage creativity. Leaders can also incorporate the mindset of continuous improvement in smaller ways. For example, make it easy for anyone to share suggestions. In recurring meetings, dedicate time to soliciting and discussing new ideas. When implementing ideas, celebrate or reward the teams or people where they originated. As always, consider your culture and what people are used to as you look for ways to make innovation a fun and welcome part of the workday.

Barrier 2: Not Engaging Stakeholders

The success of any new initiative depends significantly on knowing and engaging your stakeholders. Talk openly and regularly with your teams about where the organization and individual processes can improve. Weigh their input when deciding what to prioritize. After you make decisions, share updates on your plans and reasoning.

How you communicate is also vital. Ask the people involved how they like to receive information and updates. By email? Town halls? Conversations with department leaders? At a minimum, leverage channels people are familiar with. If, for instance, CEO videos come out quarterly, provide your change talking points for the CEO to communicate. 

The same goes for training. You cannot assume what will be most effective. Some groups may prefer instructor-led sessions over independent learning and vice versa. Some people learn better by reading, and others by watching. Work to discover and accommodate the various preferences among your teams and organization.

Barrier 3: Not Monitoring Change Progress

Don’t wait until the end to see how the plan went. Assess the completion of each change plan activity as it happens. Watch the outcomes over time. These indicators might include customer satisfaction scores, adoption rates, training participation, or performance improvements. You can also obtain feedback to understand how team members are reacting to the change. 

Regular monitoring will allow you to fix issues faster when they arise. Whenever you do miss the mark, be transparent. Don’t sweep it under the rug. Talk about it, plan around it, and decide how to address it. Likewise, if you need to change direction, let others know that you understand what’s going on and what you will do to make it better. 

Barrier 4: Not Celebrating Wins

When your employees or customers benefit from change initiatives and innovation, share those stories! Give concrete examples of how the change is helping the business and individuals. You can keep this messaging internal or use social media to bring the news to a large audience. Either way, these communications can inspire more people to adopt proposed changes. It can even get them thinking about new ways to improve organizational processes. You can also build excitement by celebrating project milestones with swag or other benefits and perks your employees will appreciate. 

Break Down Barriers to Innovation in Your Organization

An innovative organization is always experimenting, iterating, and evolving. While each change unlocks growth opportunities, few organizations achieve innovation without encountering barriers and roadblocks along the way. As you innovate, you have to understand the impacts on employees. Successful innovation requires knowing how your culture and people will accept and adapt to the change. The right strategy accounts for those factors. Targeted communication and support will be vital as you assess, plan, execute, and reflect on your change initiative. In every case, innovation should start with careful listening, in-depth planning, and an abundance of empathy for everyone involved. 

If you’re preparing for a change or looking to create a culture of innovation, Robots & Pencils can help. Check out our on-demand Change Management webinar, and contact us today at

A Proven Process for Integrating AI into Your Systems

3 Stages for Integrating AI into Your Products, Workflows, and Technology

When integrating AI into your business, product, and UX development processes, the best approaches combine research and experimentation. As you uncover, explore, and test opportunities to drive impact with AI, you must remain intentional and open-minded at every step. Large language models (LLMS), in particular, are easy to connect to applications. On the other hand, figuring out how well they perform in specific situations and optimizing their performance is complex and unpredictable. 

Below is the three-stage process Robots & Pencils uses to solve these problems and align leading LLM technology with your strategic goals. These stages offer a well-planned trajectory for integrating AI while rapidly de-risking efforts and accelerating return on investment.

Stage 1: AI Strategy and Planning 

This stage involves learning, understanding, and aligning stakeholders around your top AI use case or product opportunity. Clients will undergo a guided discovery process. Specifically, you and your teams will consider what product or process you want to optimize. You’ll discuss short- and long-term goals and decide how to measure success. You’ll also identify known risks. With this information, you can begin to select and prioritize features for your AI-based product.

At this point, our consultants support you in thinking about change management. Addressing this early will help employees stay aligned and on board with integrating AI into their workflows. Proper change management prevents changes from seeming too abrupt. It also alleviates fears about AI and its implications for your team’s jobs.

You can often complete the planning stage in a couple of weeks. However, expect to return to it regularly for different applications and business opportunities. 

Stage 2: Risk and Solution Exploration

In stage 2, you explore and address risks to pave the way for a smooth road ahead. Here, we help you build out and determine how AI integrates and engages your technologies and systems. This phase focuses on defining the UI framework, platform, prompts, tech, data, sources, and training models. We cover everything you need for building a new product or integrating AI into an existing system. As we analyze front- and back-end requirements, our designers create illustrative flows for the UI. At the same time, our engineers experiment with conversational prompts. The goal is to determine what best generates the desired conversational flows. 

Together, we will locate essential tools, technologies, and integrations we can leverage to build the platform. We will identify data sources, ML models, and custom training needs. This stage also covers evaluating tools and platforms that may accelerate learnings or actual product-build efforts. We also collaborate with you to identify industry-specific regulations and other business risks. As needed, we consult legal or compliance teams to de-risk these items ahead of development and launch.

Stage 3: Prototyping and Development

In this stage, we bring your ideas to life with a functional AI-powered prototype. Here, we design and build your Proof of Concept, connect integrations, and measure and test efficacy.We focus on the experience first and iteratively refine AI prompts. From there, we measure the consistency and quality of the AI output and perform usability testing. 

To provide an experience you and other stakeholders can easily interact with, we prototype the key UI features that govern the expression of the LLM. These features can include chat, visualization, and video. On the back end, we connect the prototype front end to the LLM, data sources, and other functional integrations. This period is also an opportunity for building a road map with project findings, prioritized features, and remaining risks.

Keys to Successfully Integrating AI into Your Tech

Applying design thinking to your LLM project is imperative to success in every stage. In design thinking, you empathize with and prioritize user needs in selecting and defining product features. This approach ensures that the resulting product aligns with actual use cases and directly addresses user challenges and desires. 

Another vital step is de-risking features to identify potential pitfalls or challenges early on. Using Agile development is also valuable. Agile installs a safety rail for your feature development. It enables incremental improvements, feedback loops, and adaptability so that your AI prototype evolves efficiently and effectively to meet the desired outcomes.

In all, the process of introducing AI will vary for everyone. Still, by following a systematic framework like the one above, your company can better navigate the complexities of AI implementation. Using a proven framework will ensure a strategic and effective deployment of artificial intelligence technologies for your employees and customers.

Ready to get started on your LLM project?

Learn more about our AI & Data Science practice online, and email us at!

Insurance Digital Transformation Challenges and Solutions 

5 Challenges Slowing Down Insurance Digital Transformation

As insurance providers modernize and optimize products and experiences, challenges are unavoidable. In this blog, we look at the top issues in digital transformation that insurance companies face and how to overcome them.

 1. Paper Problems 

Are you switching from paper-based processes to online, automated workflows? If so, it’s crucial to incorporate modern customer and employee expectations into your transition. In other words, don’t just move an analog process to a digital space. First, evaluate your existing paper process. What works? What’s broken? What would be easier for the people involved? Now is the chance to improve your processes. Rebuild them around what customers, employees, or brokers actually want.  

UX specialists can provide services and expertise in building system architecture and workflows to support user needs. They can do research and usability tests that help you make strategic choices for your customers and employees. Designing new processes with users at the center will ultimately boost adoption and satisfaction. 

2. Too Many Clicks 

Dealing with insurance can be tedious. Anyone will admit it. So many tasks are involved. There’s policy selection, data entry, verification, and payment processing, to name just a few. These steps can add up to a ton of clicks and frustrate users. Some users may eventually give up. Customers may even switch providers.

To streamline your workflows and keep customers engaged, analyze your current processes and user journeys. Look for bottlenecks, unnecessary steps, and areas for improvement. There are often multiple places to simplify processes by integrating systems and automating repetitive tasks. With your findings, you can design a more efficient experience. Even something like adding intelligent form autofill can save employees and customers time. 

By applying UX design best practices during a digital transformation, insurance companies can create experiences that save everyone time. As a result, work will get done faster, and customers and employees will be happier. 

3. Varying Customer Preferences

Creating products that meeting customer preferences is a key part of digital transformation in insurance and elsewhere. However, different customer groups have varying insurance needs and preferences. For instance, younger customers want digital convenience and personalization. On the other hand, older customers value traditional customer service and comprehensive coverage. This variability can pose challenges in product development.

To address these challenges, companies can create products with distinct views and offerings for each customer segment. They can also empower staff to customize products for each customer. Customers and employees should be able to easily personalize insurance packages based on risk profiles, life stages, or preferences.

Having communication options, such as social media, email, chat, phone, and mail, also helps you cater to customer preferences. To get this right, not only should every channel be easily accessible, but all interactions must be tracked and integrated into the digital platform. This connectivity will allow customers to jump seamlessly from one channel to the next. However they want to communicate, everyone should have a personalized and positive experience. 

4. Risky Business

Delivering highly personalized experiences starts with data. Yet insurance information is full of sensitive personal and financial data. Cybersecurity is a serious industry concern. Companies must find a way to use this data without increasing risk to the business. Fortunately, there are tried and true methods to ensure strong security, including:

  • Implementing robust encryption to protect data in transit and at rest
  • Using intuitive but strict access controls so that only authorized customers and personnel can access sensitive data 
  • Informing customers on how you use and protect data and allowing them to manage preferences
  • Incorporating controls across channels and interfaces via multi-factor authentication, regular security updates, and secure connections 
  • Educating employees on data protection and confidentiality best practices
  • Continuously assessing and mitigating data handling and processing risks

5. Outdated Tech and Fragmented Data

Customer experience is a top priority, but your employees matter too. Their needs deserve your attention. Back-end technology and data availability are as essential as the front-end. Employees can’t deliver on the customer satisfaction gains promised by shiny new customer-facing products if your systems are confusing to use or data is locked away in silos.

When planning a digital transformation in your insurance company, consider both internal and external technology. Employee experience and satisfaction (or frustration) directly impact the customer experience. Enhancing and automating internal processes will, in turn, improve external experiences. These processes include underwriting, billing, and other operational activities. Increasing data sharing and speeding up low-value tasks can have big payoffs. System integration and data visibility are vital for making interactions between customers and employees go smoothly.

Let’s Talk Insurance and Digital Transformation!

Want to create more engaging and personalized customer experiences? Ready to grow employee satisfaction and productivity? We can help. Contact us at today.

Best Practices for Using AI in Your Business

3 Strategies for Businesses Interested in Using AI

One of the best ways to use AI in your business is to connect technology systems and streamline processes, helping users work better and faster. Take this example. A bank wants to deliver expert customer support across platforms. They introduce an intelligent Q&A system within Slack, MS Teams, and various web applications. The bank gives the system access to shared files, Google Docs, SharePoint, and third-party services. They also create new interfaces and workflows that incorporate this AI technology. Once the AI tool is connected across these platforms, employees or customers can ask questions in natural language. When they do, the tool searches all available sources to instantly provide accurate, helpful answers.

Of course, that example is one of many potential use cases. Overall, most business use cases for AI revolve around automation, analysis, and optimization. Beyond automating employee and customer support, predictive analytics for sales, supply optimization, and personalized marketing are just a few additional ways today’s organizations leverage AI.

When you think about how to apply AI in your organization, remember that AI should serve you—not the other way around. Below are some best practices for using AI to enhance your business processes and help your users.

1. Apply a Human-First Philosophy

To get more benefit from AI, pair it with human-centered thinking. Rather than fearing AI as a threat to jobs, integrate it into your organization based on how it can complement and assist your human team. The focus should be enhancing existing work and processes, like using chatbots to augment rather than replace your customer support team. 

This approach also helps with buy-in from decision-makers who hesitate to adopt AI, fearing what it could mean for workforce morale and company culture. You can mitigate many concerns around AI by emphasizing how it lifts workloads off burdened teams, not just speeds up business processes. When you automate repetitive, low-value tasks, staff have time for more rewarding and strategic activities. 

2. Cut Through the Hype with Expert Guidance

When implementing AI into your systems, the goal is to apply AI sustainably in a way that will add exponential value. With the speed at which AI is evolving, it’s often helpful to bring in advisors who have experience with AI and data science. These experts can help you align the technology with your organization’s needs and capabilities. 

Look for a partner who can provide data scientists, engineers, and experienced designers to help you. You want a team that balances big ideas with technology expertise and risk assessment. They should be up-to-date on AI trends and use proven, outcome-driven methods for ideation, product development, and industry-specific risk mitigation. 

3. Know the Business Risks of Using AI

While integrating AI into business brings numerous benefits, it also presents potential risks and downsides. For example, AI systems can inherit biases in the data used to train them, leading to biased decision-making. AI algorithms, especially in complex deep learning models, can be challenging to interpret, and a lack of transparency in decision-making processes may lead to difficulties in understanding how and why specific outcomes occur. 

As AI-based point solutions are built across industries, including those with complex requirements like healthcare, it will be important that these solutions maintain compliance. AI systems can also become targets for cyberattacks, where malicious actors manipulate input data to mislead the AI or try to steal your business and customer data. Such attacks can have critical legal and reputational consequences.

To protect your company, awareness and diligence are imperative. Always have intentional human oversight in developing, using, and managing AI-based tools. You can proactively address these risks by providing robust governance, ethical guidelines, and ongoing monitoring of AI systems to ensure responsible and secure use. If you use a partner to help you build your AI products, ensure they are experienced and knowledgeable of the risks, including how to mitigate them.  

Ready to talk about using AI in your business? 

Complete our contact form to start the conversation, or email us at!

How to Focus Your Digital Transformation Strategy on the Right Opportunity

Direct Your Tech Investment to What Matters Most

Modernizing your tech stack and digital experience can provide a huge boost in customer satisfaction and employee efficiency, but deciding exactly where to focus your digital transformation strategy is a complex undertaking. Before undergoing any tech modernization efforts, you need to determine your biggest opportunity for impact. But how? Understanding opportunity requires investigating the state of your organization, the market, and the needs and wants of the people who will be affected. 

3 Activities to Inform Your Digital Transformation Strategy

Deciding where your technology dollars go is not the time to rely on assumptions. To ensure impact, base decisions on data and research, and stay open to unexpected findings. By assessing your current state with the following activities, you can gain foundational information for determining a strategy and focus that guides your technology investments.

1. Needs Analysis

Aligning technology investments with stakeholder needs (internal teams, external partners, and clients, customers, or users) is essential. Two types of needs demand close attention:

  • Business needs: Stakeholder interviews can deepen your understanding and awareness of department and team objectives, internal observations, and
other opportunities to improve your organization.
  • Customer/user needs: Interviews along with quantitative and qualitative research can reveal unanticipated and unmet customer or user needs.

Once you understand the preferences, pain points, and behaviors of these groups, you can determine where their needs align best with your business goals and priorities. 

2. Technical & Data Audit

By assessing your existing technical and data assets, you can identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Likely, some systems or workflows are overly complex and could be simplified and improved. Other technology systems may be ready for sunsetting. 

As you complete your audit, closely examine the connections and flow of data between systems. Keep an eye out for new integrations that may be needed in a future state. Note contract renewal dates as well, as they will be important as you address timing. 

3. Market Evaluation

Study the market trends, emerging technologies, and competitive landscape for your business and industry. Through this market research, you can identify best practices and better understand your competition. Testing other organizations’ software and digital experiences can reveal valuable insights and opportunities for you to fill a market gap.

The Final Step: Deliver on Your Digital Strategy

The insights gained from this discovery and research will point to where new or updated technology could most impact your business. You’ll also have found potential risks–including existing system constraints, data complexities, and even resistance to change. (A Change Readiness Assessment is another tool we recommend for mitigating issues that could impact your digital transformation strategy.)

Once you’ve honed in on where your efforts will reap the highest reward, you can move forward to defining your portfolio vision and goals, detailing your future technology solutions and architecture, and conducting a gap analysis. Then, in your final planning stages, you’ll create a tactical delivery plan, including a business case, implementation roadmap, and measurement and learning framework. To learn more about completing these stages, download our white paper on Planning and Prioritizing Your Tech Investments today.

Refine Your Digital Transformation Strategy with Robots & Pencils

Robots & Pencils develops journey-focused digital products and experiences that deliver exponential impact for our clients. We design and build solutions that unlock data and insights, infuse intelligent automation, and accelerate organizational innovation. Fusing technology + creativity, we help brands transform their businesses, deliver delightful customer and employee experiences, and maintain a competitive edge amidst a constantly changing technology landscape.

To learn how we help you with everything from creating a clear vision for your digital ecosystem to planning and implementing new, integrated technology, contact us at or visit

Women in Tech Recommended Books, Podcasts, and More

At our most recent Women in Innovation event, our accomplished panelists shared the podcasts, books, newsletters, and other resources they recommend for women in the tech field. We’ve compiled their picks below along with a few bonus suggestions for must-read women in tech books from the talent at Robots & Pencils.

Recommendations from Asha Aravindakshan
Best-Selling Author and Tech Leader

Asha Aravindakshan

How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job | By Sally Huddleson and Marshall Goldsmith

How Women Rise offers a modern take on Marshall Goldsmith’s classic, What Got Here Won’t Get You There. This book explicitly acknowledges that women face different obstacles in their careers from men. The authors highlight the behaviors that help women start their careers but then keep them from rising to higher levels. Along with naming 12 of these behaviors, they provide clear examples of how each can hold you back and what to do instead to move forward.

Skills: The Common Denominator | By Asha Aravindakshan

Our career paths (and our lives) rarely follow a straight path. If you’re planning a career move, this book offers insights and guidance for everything form comparing industries, roles, and organizations to utilizing your professional and personal networks. Featuring 25 inspirational stories of career changes, Skills will help you assess, identify, and showcase your transferable skills. Ultimately, you’ll learn how to stand out among candidates while creating a career that brings you joy. 

Recommendations from Andrea Chin
Expert in Digital and Disruptive Technology

Andrea Chin

The Female Quotient 

The Female Quotient is an organization committed to raising the visibility of women and advancing equality. They host events, develop content, and provide advisory services to organizations. Andrea recommends signing up for their newsletter to stay up-to-date with the group’s work.

Fairy GodBoss 

Fairy Godboss is a community designed to help women find jobs, career advice, and support. Membership is free and includes access to job search features, company reviews, and events. Fairy GodBoss also has a daily newsletter that covers career trends, discussions, and new articles.

Athena Alliance  

Athena Alliance supports female leaders through educational content, coaching, courses, in-person meetups, networking, and community.

Recommendations from Natalie Farand
Client Experience & Digital Product Senior Leader

Natalie Farand

Women at Work

Hosted by Amy Bernstein and Amy Gallo, this podcast is affiliated with the Harvard Business Review. It explores all sorts of topics related to women at work from entrepreneurship to vulnerability to joining a board. Natalie says it’s one of her go-to podcasts she listens to while she gets ready every morning.

The New Rules of Business

This podcast by Chief is another of Natalie’s favorites. While Chief is primarily a private network for executive women, anyone can sign up for their newsletter and listen to their podcast, The New Rules of Business. On this podcast, Chief Co-Founders Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan dive into complex marketplace trends and challenge established ideas about leadership. 

Books for Women in Tech: R&P Team Recommendations

As part of our celebration of the history and future of women in tech, we asked our talent what books they recommend for other women in tech.

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle | by Emily Nagoski PhD and Amelia Nagoski DMA

Suggested by Tahishia Simmons, R&P’s Director of Managed Services, this book examines how the world views women differently than men and the pressure they face as a result. The book offers women tools to manage and overcome the stressors that have left you exhausted.

Big Feelings: How to be Okay When Things are Not Okay | by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy 

Jen Suehr, our Product Ownership Associate Practice Lead, recommends this book if you’re looking for advice and strategies for managing tough feelings like envy, burnout, and anxiety.

Girl, Stop Apologizing | by Rachel Hollis

Recommended by R&P Account Manager Brittany Peterson, this book challenges women to replace old excuses with new behaviors, skills, and the confidence to grow and achieve their dreams.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead | by Sheryl Sandberg

Simranjeet Kaur, Senior QA Robot, chose this classic book as her recommendation for fellow women in tech. The book offers practical advice to help you build a fulfilling career, covering topics like mentorship, negotiation, and taking risks to achieve your goals.

Women in Tech: Shaping the Future

As Robots & Pencils celebrates 15 years in business this year – and Women’s History Month this March, we reflect on the journey that has brought us to where we are today and the many women of tech who have helped us get here. From the start, women have been vital to our growth and the development of innovative solutions for our clients. In fact, one of our two co-founders (and the original pencil!) was a female. Since then, many talented women have joined our ranks and made their marks in leadership and individual contributor roles.

However, the story of our tech company has not historically been the norm. While the history of women in technology is full of perseverance, innovation, and progress, many obstacles have hindered women’s full participation and recognition in the field. As we stand at the cusp of a new era, it’s crucial to acknowledge our past and understand our present. Only then can we envision a future where diversity is not just encouraged but celebrated as a cornerstone of innovation.

Reflecting on Our Roots

The history of women in technology is rich with figures who defied the norms of their times. These pioneers contributed foundational work in computing and engineering. From Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, to Grace Hopper, who developed the first user-friendly software programs in the 20th century, women have been instrumental in shaping the technology landscape. Despite their contributions, for too long, women’s roles were marginalized and their achievements overshadowed.

The late 20th and early 21st centuries marked a turning point, with more women entering STEM fields and making significant strides in tech. However, the journey has been far from smooth. Women have faced a myriad of challenges, from gender bias and a culture that can be unwelcoming to females to a lack of representation as women look up the leadership ladder.

The Present Landscape for Women in Tech

Today’s tech industry is more diverse than it was decades ago. Still, women only account for approximately one-third of the tech workforce. That number drops further in technical and leadership positions. The reasons are complex and multifaceted, from societal and cultural norms to policies and practices within the industry itself.

More than ever, there’s a growing movement to change the narrative. Initiatives to close the gender gap, such as STEM education programs for girls, mentorship programs, and women-led tech startups and VC funds, are gaining momentum. Organizations are increasingly recognizing the value of diversity, not just as a moral imperative but as a business one. Numerous studies have shown that diverse teams are more innovative and perform better financially. 

Envisioning a Better Future

Looking to the future, we are optimistic about the impact of women in tech. Technology is at the heart of societal transformation, and the need for diverse perspectives will be critical as society confronts global challenges. Here are some specific ways we see the future of women in tech evolving.

Increased Representation: STEM education efforts and increased adult learning options will translate to more women entering the tech workforce. We anticipate an increase in the number of women not just in entry-level positions, but in senior leadership roles and fields like AI, machine learning, and cybersecurity.

Policy and Practice Changes: Companies with inclusive policies and practices, including flexible working arrangements that support work-life balance, will attract more female candidates. Mentorship programs are also becoming more common, providing women with increased guidance and opportunities to advance their careers.

Women Leading Innovation: Women will not continue to not only participate in the tech industry but lead some of the most significant innovations. Female tech entrepreneurs will be at the forefront of developing groundbreaking technologies and solutions that create a better world.

Advice for Women in Tech

At our women in innovation events, our speakers often advise attendees to both seek and provide mentorship. The guidance and support of someone who has navigated the world you’re facing can be invaluable. Equally, by mentoring others, you help to build a more inclusive and supportive tech community.

Another refrain is to stay curious. The tech field is constantly evolving. Continuous learning is key to staying ahead. Embrace challenges as opportunities to grow, and never underestimate the value of your unique perspective. 

Finally, advocate for yourself and others. Be vocal about your achievements and the contributions of other women in tech. Change happens when people collectively raise their voices to highlight injustices and push for progress.

The future of women in tech is bright, but realizing it requires a concerted effort from individuals, organizations, and society. Together, let’s commit to breaking down those barriers that remain and building a tech industry that is truly inclusive, equitable, and representative of the world it serves. 

Trends in Higher Education to Watch in 2024 and Beyond

3 Tech Trends Transforming Higher Education

In an era marked by technological advancements, education is undergoing a revolutionary transformation. As we look to the years ahead, multiple factors are poised to redefine how we learn and teach. In this post, we delve into three trends in higher education that will shape the future of this space: immersive, personalized experiences, credentialing technology, and expanded inclusion. Beyond that, we discuss how faculty upskilling and professional development are imperative for enabling institutional change around these trends.

1. Immersive, Personalized Digital Experiences

As positive sentiment toward online learning continues to surge among potential students, a focus on digital learner experience is taking center stage. The days of attracting applicants with extravagant on-campus facilities are giving way to a movement that caters to the fully or partially remote student. To differentiate themselves, universities must instead invest in digital campuses and experiences. As they do, they’ll need tools like Salesforce to support learners across the lifecycle and across departmental silos. From any location and device, students will expect easy access to personalized information, helpful resources, and proactive guidance. 

The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) will undoubtedly have an immense role in this digital shift. For example, adaptive learning powered by AI will enable experiences tailored to individual needs. Predictive modeling for intervention and intelligent tutoring systems will offer real-time feedback and support, revolutionizing the traditional education model. AI algorithms utilizing natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) will also customize content and modalities to cater to the unique needs of each student. At the same time, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies will mature. They will provide new avenues for interactive learning, including simulations that enhance understanding. As institutions combine these tools to optimize digital experiences, gamification and behavioral economics will offer further avenues to make learning more engaging and enjoyable.

2. Streamlined Academic and Transfer Credentialing 

Education will soon witness the rise of technology that simplifies the process of transferring between institutions or starting fresh at a new school. This technology will provide secure and easy verification of academic credentials, empowering learners with greater control over their educational journey. The decentralized credentialing system will subsequently break down barriers to learning, making education more accessible and flexible for students.

3. Expanded Inclusion

Technology will be pivotal in creating inclusive learning environments that cater to diverse needs. Platforms and resources will be designed with universal principles that ensure accessibility for students with disabilities. Educational software will be tailored to accommodate various learning styles, offering customization and adaptability, powered in part by AI. Cultural sensitivity will likewise be a priority. For this reason, technologists and educational leaders will collaborate to address potential biases in educational technology and present content that is inclusive and relevant to every student.

A Requirement for Growth: Faculty Upskilling and Development

Faculty and staff will be crucial to unlocking the potential of these new technologies and trends in higher education. Institutions must equip their teams to navigate this rapidly changing landscape. Ongoing training in digital literacy and the effective use of new educational technology will be essential. Creating a culture of continuous learning will encourage educators to stay updated on new tools and best practices. In particular, the integration of AI in education necessitates faculty upskilling. Educators must be prepared to guide students in understanding and utilizing generative AI tools due to their increasing prevalence in professional settings.

All in all, the future of education is an exciting frontier characterized by immersive, personalized experiences, streamlined credentialing, and expanded inclusion. Embracing these trends–and simultaneously preparing faculty and staff to fully utilize new technologies–will empower a diverse generation of students to thrive in an ever-evolving global landscape. 

Are You Ready for the Change These Higher Education Trends Will Bring?

Robots & Pencils partners with forward-thinking institutions at the cutting edge of trends in higher education and technology advancement. From increasing retention with more personalized learner journeys to streamlining internal systems and workflows to optimizing academic support, our team is passionate about enabling student success. To discuss how we could help your organization, fill out our contact form or email us at

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