Chief executive of leading global company information provider Creditsafe, Cato Syversen, said the decision to ban mobile phones in meetings has helped to boost creativity.

And addressing a meeting of Cardiff Breakfast Club, the charismatic Norwegian said that start-up companies looking to disrupt the marketplace had to create an environment of craziness and creativity – although an element of control was needed once a business becomes established.

Creditsafe, which Mr Syversen described as being “the world’s most used fitness gym against bad debt,” has its headquarters in Cardiff and an office in Caerphilly, which together employ nearly 400.

Its subscription online service offer, where it has more recently expanded into the sales support market – is now available in 89 countries. Worldwide Credisafe, which started in Caerphilly over a decade ago, has a workforce of 1,500 and offices in 12 locations including those in Italy Japan and the US.

Mr Syverson said that for internal communication, Creditsafe is actively turning away from e-mail and instead encouraging greater across department collaboration through the Slack team messaging platform.

“E-mails drive me completely mad, “ he said.

And he said a decision to ban all mobile phones and laptops from company meetings was reaping dividends.

He said: “Banning mobile phones and laptops in meetings, so that everyone is listening, is very important for the networking and creative process. So getting rid of them has been very effective for us and we are very pleased with that.”

Mr Syversen said that so called Y generation employees – people born between 1984 and 2000 – created enjoyable challenges.

He described them as the “negotiation generation” starting with their parents and what time they went to bed to currently what they expect from employers.

Some 75% of its UK workforce is in this age category. Mr Syverson said: “There is going to be craziness and chaos and you need some don’ts. But they have a massive urge to have an impact and to make a difference and quickly. So they need to have a voice so that they are not disappointed.”

He said that Creditsafe took time “to crack” its disruptive business model which sought to take on established sector players such as Dun & Bradstreet and Experian with an online subscription model.

He said :“We want to create and destroy [competitors]. It took time, but we had a chairman who thought about the long-term and five year plans.”

Mr Syversen said he convinced the board to move to Wales from London to give the business “a proper go.” He described Wales as a “great place to do business,” with motivated, productive and hardworking staff.

On being a disruptive start-up he said: “You have to get into a creative mode and let the boundaries go. You have to have craziness and go for it… which is fantastic.”

Creditsafe now generates global revenues of 156 million euros.

He added: “When we got to 100 million euros [revenues] we turned the craziness down and pumped up the control.”

On the advent of the four industrial revolution with automation and the adoption of artificial intelligence he said the forecast speed of change made it difficult to predict the future – although 40% of current jobs could disappear by 2053.

He added: “But in the fourth industrial revolution we will have to go crazy again, but in a controlled way where we learn quickly, so happy days.”

Cardiff Breakfast Club, held at the Swalec Stadium, is sponsored by the Western Mail, Stills Branding, Effective Communication, Lloyds Banking Group and Blake Morgan.

Credit: Sion Barry, Wales Online

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