Connectivity isn’t everything

The world‘s first professor of connectivity on how to stay focussed and sane in a hyperconnected world


Connectivity underpins the attention economy: from toddlers with tablets and texting teens to smartphone addicts, we are increasingly able to be connected anytime, anywhere. But this comes with a price of fragmented attention, blurred work/life boundaries, and even social isolation. The world’s first professor of connectivity explains the risks and rewards of a connected life.


Is there such a thing as being too connected? How much connectivity is enough, how much is too much, and how much is too little?

There is definitely such a thing as too much and too little connectivity, as anyone who is swamped with email or who can’t find a cell signal will tell you. The thing we have discovered is that these states of connectivity are personally subjective – the right amount is in the eye of the beholder. And the right amount varies depending on the situation we’re in. Content may be king, but when it comes to understanding connectivity, context is queen. Many of us know our limits of connectivity and try our best to avoid being hyper-connected, but those boundaries depend on the individual. One hundred emails for one person may be too much, but for another it may be normal.

Darl Kolb

Professor Darl Kolb is one of the first foundation professors in the Graduate School of Management (SM) 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. Prior to joining the GSM, Darl was a member of the Department of Management and International Business 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 The Icehouse growth programmes.