The digital used to be just numbers to me — my first childhood wrist watch painted that picture in my head as DIGITS, and ALL DIGITS. Growing up, I just couldn’t reconcile how digits could be associated with other concepts aside from the digits themselves. Now, however, I realize that the digital is everywhere—digit-all.

Over the years, the digital has become conscious and responsive almost all the time. Humans now expect information instantly. Does this translate to living a round-the-clock experience? No. The digital has allowed for smart tools that adapt and respond just like humans. The human factor when merged with these tools create a fantastic combination that generates a seamless user experience.

So what does it mean to “be digital?” Acknowledging what awaits you around the corner is being digital. Such wisdom comes from the ability to interpret data and simulate patterns of results in solving potential challenges. But it’s not just about collecting as much data as possible. Neither is it about identifying every potential challenge because that would be impossible. It’s about preparing for the unknown with an open mind. That reminds me of a journey with focus groups I have moderated in the past in my home country. The most fascinating conversations have always been the ones when I had given up my prejudices and acknowledged the digital me.

Connectivity among team members is another aspect of being digital. What is exciting is that being digital enables collaborations that can be infinitely elastic and know no bounds. When colleagues’ complete tasks by tapping into and synthesizing knowledge that exists inside and outside their workspace, that is the digital.

Digital transformative force is about unlocking growth now. How the Middlebury community might interpret that definition will vary, but having a clear understanding of what digital means allows everyone to develop a shared vision of how it can be used to capture value.