• Niklas Hall

Acumex xmas: AI Santa

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

Busy as we all feel in December, fact remains that Santa is probably the busiest man around this time of year. Having to execute a full year of preparations in just one day takes skill. Production, logistics and large-scale data crunching – all at the very highest level.

So how does he pull it off? Well, like all forward looking business owners and operators – Santa is employing a wide range of exponential technologies: AI, robotics, IoT sensors and the like. We provide you with an exclusive insight to his operations.


First and foremost, Santa's multiple workshops are increasingly turning to new production techniques involving robotics, 3D printing and additive manufacturing. This saves him precious resources while providing the means for mass customization and more agile production.

Production cycles are based on a constant flow of data on kids' behavior. The actual gift giving decision is not based on a strictly binary logic of "good" or "bad" behavior, as this is fluid and may increase in favor of good. The data models provide historic data (anonymized to comply with GDPR standards) while AI provides a level of predictive analysis and smart handling of any fuzzy logics.

Post production, a symphony of AI guided robots pick, wrap and handle gifts prior to shipping (all is of course air freight in this case). Think "Amazon/Alibaba warehousing on steroids". Every time zone has its own individual storage facility.


As a business relying on "wishes", tracking is top of the list of strategic projects for 2019 and 2020.

Reducing the level of Customer Sacrifice (the difference between what a customer wants exactly and what he/she will settle for) is key for any business. For Santa, even more so.

Reducing customer sensibility translates to savings and eventually re-directing resources not linked to value creation for customers. As such, turning to Experience Economy design principles will allow Santa to UP his service and Customer Experience Management while using LESS resources. Effect - impact - is key in any market as is continuous improvement.

For now, the lack of ability to fully track customer sacrifice explains why kids sometimes get something not on their wish list. Like homemade sweaters. On the positive side, some kids actually get stuff they didn't realize they wanted/needed/thought off. If this is indeed the case, Santa can claim to share common ground with Steve Jobs (aka "Tech Santa").

Also on the list of strategic projects is the increased use of blockchain technology. For now, the organization is engaged in mapping, quantifying and qualifying. First draft on scenarios and possible strategies is expected in Q3 of 2019.


The etymology of "drone" is actually "gnome" – derived from the old Norse word "gnom" used to describe "... a small man or dwarf". Likewise, but unknown to most people, the etymology of the word "fairy" is similarly linked to transportation, but by boat.

Travelling under the cover of nightfall provides Santa with a level of natural stealth. But the real reason most people don't see Santa on Christmas Eve is due to massive use of drones for last-leg delivery.

But even in sleigh department, Santa has some major updates up his over-size sleeves. For example, every reindeer has received major upgrades. Formerly having to rely on whatever light provided by Rudolph's red nose, the sensory department now features GPS, laser-guided flight paths as well as a NVIDIA ATC (Air Traffic Control unit) to handle reindeer flight data provided by an extensive array of IoT wearables.

Most importantly though, all reindeers now sport Level 5 (full) autonomy.

Not having to do actual steering, Santa can revert his full attention to the constant dispatch of drones – in flight – and even catch a snack or a quick nap. Convenience AND increased precision – what's not to like?


There is still a long way to go. But Santa likes to see himself as a first mover.

Globalization means increased competition, and no-one likes the prospect of Santa being outmaneuvered by some tech-enabled garage start-up. Besides, exponential technology is no waiting game. It's like waiting for a Christmas not happening. Full of homemade sweaters.

A keen reader of "The Exponential Organization" Santa is not only into production and distribution. Increasingly, he understands that technology is influencing how we work – how the organization needs to be (re)structured. How tech can enable it to leverage assets and resources it neither controls nor owns. How to tackle the steep increase in gnomes working as free agents. The future of work. All that jazz.

But hey, after a well-deserved sleep on the 25th, time is ripe for explorative workshops in Santa's workshop! A Q1 dedicated to exploring and improving. And push-ups.


Hope you have a great holiday with family and friends and that you enter 2019 in style.

See you then for more blog posts. And push-ups.









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