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Digital Balls!

For a while now people having been saying to me ‘I love the happy balls, but you’re a company with a technology focus, shouldn’t you have a digital version’. There was some debate in the office, people liked the physical act of picking up a ball and putting it in a bucket as they left the office, but there were a few issues, around privacy (you could see people voting) and physical effort, yes some of us are that lazy.

So after the amazing Raspberry Pi came out and with NixonMcInnes moving into swanky new offices, we decided to upgrade our balls to buttons. We gave a brief to Matt Edwards one of the ingenious people at Build Brighton and we have now upgraded to a fantastic new digital version which we have cleverly named – Happy Buttons!


So now it’s voting by buttons and the Pi is wirelessly connected into a Google doc that documents time, date and status.

We have also made an interesting change to the options. Before we had happy and unhappy and this had a polarising effect. It was black or white, and a few in the office, myself included didn’t vote because we occupied that middle ground, never happy nor unhappy, it was coined the ‘meh bucket’ we wanted one of these. So in this new iteration we have added the ‘meh’ option which we’ve also called the OK option. (I plan to write a follow up post look at the impact of the meh button).

So what have we gained?

It is curated automatically and therefore not reliant on someone counting the balls in the bucket and adding it to a spreadsheet.

It’s more inclusive, adding the OK button has increased usage and anecdotally I have started voting more and also using the happy option more.

There is a renewed interest in the data we are looking at coding visualisations and automatically tweeting the results.

We are currently in prototype mode, but hope to have a few finished copies soon allowing us to take them to events, workshops and install with our clients on projects.

I’d be interested to know what you think?

This post was filed under Digital transformation, Innovation, Technology, The future, Working culture and tagged , , Comments are currently closed.


  1. How might we purchase one of these wonderful devices?

    Posted 14th December 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink
  2. Elisa

    Amazing idea! I saw the buckets at the open studio event you organized (I was among the attendees) but I can understand that people want to vote privately…

    Posted 16th December 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink
  3. Julian Newby

    Hi Jack, I’m sure you can, we are about to develop the look and code and then we will have an idea of costs. Probably in 3 or 4 weeks if that’s ok?

    Posted 18th December 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink
  4. I always loved the Happy Balls idea ever since I you and Danielle shared it with me Jules – great to see it developing :)

    Posted 20th December 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
  5. Hey Julian, so that is where you are! Love the buttons. Am fascinated though. Are you guys finding that people are more likely to press happy due to their happy self. Or are people more likely to want to press Grumpy to show how fed up they are without screaming…

    Posted 5th April 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

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    [...] an important part of the NixonMcInnes mentality and I’ll be pushing forward things like the Happy Buttons, as well as looking into ways we can bring Making to our [...]