Why you should always be a challenger

Hiroshi Mikitani
CEO, Rakuten Inc
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Leadership?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Entrepreneurship is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:


What happens when your little company becomes big? Many good things, of course. You have access to more resources, more opportunities, talent flocks to your door and global partners seek you out.

But there are also dangers. Big companies can become complacent. They can look back on their history of success and feel as though it is a permanent state. They can become rigid – convinced that their record of success means they need not change.

This is a mindset that saps momentum and puts a successful company at risk. To guard against, as I recently wrote, you must maintain the entrepreneurial mindset. What’s more? Always see yourself as the challenger.

  • The challengers are the entrepreneurs. They are the always coming up with new and innovative ideas. Even if you are big, think like an entrepreneur.
  • The challengers are the fastest. Big companies can be slow. Even as you grow, keep speed as a critical element of your business.
  • The challengers change the world. Big companies may be okay with the way things are, because they are good for big companies. But challengers are the ones that are always asking: how can the world be made better? Even big companies should be concerned about their impact on humanity.

No matter how big you may grow, see yourself as the challenger in your industry. That’s the way you will keep your momentum.

This article is published in collaboration with LinkedIn. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

To keep up with the Agenda subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Author: Hiroshi Mikitani is Chairman and CEO of Rakuten.

Image: Starlings rest on electric wires in the delta of river Po natural park in Cervia. REUTERS/Max Rossi.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Innovation Prize: Meet the next generation of changemakers

Natalie Pierce and Maria Sol Adaime Gabris

July 11, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Sign in
  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum