Inertia = do nothing

According to the OxfordLanguages dictionary, Inertia is defined as

Definition: A tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.

Example: “the problem runs deeper than bureaucratic inertia”

What does this have to do with mobile form software?

It’s not just mobile forms or technology, it’s any sort of change within an organization, particularly one where technology will change user behavior.

The default is to do nothing

Most change is perceived to be painful, even if in the long run that change will lead to great things.

Why is “do nothing” so common?

If you are the one in charge of picking a technology, and that choice goes sideways, guess who gets the blame?  You do.

But what happens if you maintain the status quo instead?  Nothing.  It’s business as usual, without having to answer tough questions about why the technology you picked went sideways, because you didn’t…you chose the easy route: do nothing.

How do you overcome this “do nothing” bit?

Sometimes a major economic impact or other external force has to occur to overcome this.

An example of this was COVID.  Nobody wanted to use Zoom, MS Teams, OneDrive, VOIP, or similar technology.  But when COVID hit, everyone scrambled to make remote work a viable option.  At the environmental consulting organization that I worked at, a slow shift was happening around the end of 2019/beginning of 2020 to switch from documents being stored “on the H drive in the server in the office closet” to Azure OneDrive and Sharepoint.  But this was happening at a snail’s pace.  Similarly, the company was switching away from Nortel Meridian phones in employee offices to a cloud-based virtual phone system called Grasshopper.  Again, this was moving along slowly.  But when it was clear, around early March 2020, that the approaching pandemic was going to change everything, these initiatives accelerated dramatically.  I’m sure that this titanic shift in technology adoption occurred in thousands of organizations worldwide around that time.

But its not everyday that a major external impact happens.  Thankfully, these type of events are extremely rare.  So what do you do the rest of the time?

Just do it

Sounds cliché, but its soooo easy to fall into the trap of analyzing something to death and end up doing nothing.  It’s better to do some research, identify one technology, get a demo/pilot, and go for it if that tool seems to work well enough.  The alternative is analysis paralysis…you research the crap out of something, get 5 demos and pilots going, people on the inside eventually get exhausted, and then you choose to do nothing.

What if the technology you chose isn’t the best, or isn’t working well enough?

Switch to a different one.  Sure, you will have sunk costs, wasted time, and new things to learn.  But you already did the hard part:  getting your team to embrace change.  The second time around it will be easier.

What’s the lesson here?


It’s not the end of the world if something goes wrong.  Just acknowledge the error, change course, and don’t put the blame on the person who spearheaded the effort.  Instead, reward the effort.  And do it again.

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