Wednesday, September 16, 2015


From my Inaugural Lecture, 15 September 2015.

Title of the Talk: 'Connectivity isn't everything (but it's almost everything)'

In conclusion, we have defined connectivity, but it could also be said that connectivity defines us and our time. It has transformed education, social interaction and work.  It seems to be almost everywhere and everything.  But, if, as I have suggested, it isn’t everything, what is it not?

As much as it serves as a platform for so much of contemporary society’s day-in-and-day-out interaction, connectivity on its own does not necessarily equate to what we might call the connected life.

The connected life reflects where we have been and where we are physically located.  The connected life has connections that are constant, beyond technology.  As Heidegger suggests, we are always close to those we care about.  We need some connections that are always close to us, regardless of whether we can reach them on a mobile phone.

The connected live means practicing conscious ‘disconnects.’  For a host of reasons, we need to be able to throttle down some of the connectivity overload that many of us experience.

The connected life is also an inclusive life, where the digital divide gets conquered.  If smartphones are an essential tool for the so-called developed world, they are 10 times more powerful in a developing economic context.

Do we need more connectivity?  That is a moot question.  We are all going to experience ever increasing levels of connectivity in our lives. 

The question is this:  How do we make a more connected life a better life?

Thank you.

Full text as pdf can be found on and ResearchGate.

A good summary article was posted on the Business School's web site in November 2015.


Darl G. Kolb is one of the first foundation professors in the Graduate School of Management (GSM) at the University of Auckland Business School and the first Professor of Connectivity in the world.  He has been defining, theorising and empirically exploring connectivity for 15 years, having written articles on the ‘metaphor of connectivity,’ ‘requisite connectivity’ and ‘states of connectivity.’  His field research has looked at connectivity in globally distributed teams and how smartphone users manage ‘media flow.’  Prior to joining the GSM, Darl was a member of the department of Management and International Business (MIB) for 20 years, during which time he received several distinguished awards for excellence and innovation in teaching.  Outside the Business School, he has worked with hundreds of small to medium-sized New Zealand businesses through ICEHOUSE growth programmes.  Prior to his academic career, Darl spent 10 years as an experiential education instructor/facilitator/leader with the Colorado Outward Bound School and the Santa Fe Mountain Center.  As an academic, he has held visiting fellowships at the University of Sydney and the University of Cambridge, where he is a Life Member of Clare Hall.  He holds a Bachelors degree in sociology from Illinois State University, a Masters degree in experiential education from the University of Colorado/Boulder and a PhD in organisational behaviour from Cornell University.

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