MeriTalk, WAMU, Politico, ACT-IAC, and the Alliance for Digital Innovation Collaborate on MerITocracy

Congress is about democracy – and congress understands that tech and innovation are changing everything – and that change holds peril and promise for all Americans and global democracy.

That’s why a bipartisan group of nine congressional leaders and industry visionaries are coming together at the debut MerITocracy American Innovation Forum on November 16 on Capitol Hill to discuss the potential, pitfalls, and policy that undergird America’s tech and innovation priorities. White House representatives are expected to join the conference.

With a goal set well above the bar for typical tech conferences, MerITocracy looks at the outcomes of tech disruptions and innovation across six areas of American society – healthcare, workforce/education, security and privacy, global competitiveness, government acquisition, and citizen service.

The big goal – exploring how to make America better by breaking down some of the country’s most daunting problems, and then fitting technology solutions to them. The idea is that technology can help deliver a better society – that includes equal access, transparency and accountability in government, and a renewed responsibility to put citizen service first.

“Capitol Hill is getting hip to technology, and the MerITocracy forum will dive into the good, the bad, and the ugly,” said Steve O’Keeffe, MeriTalk’s founder. “Technology can be the great equalizer that gives everybody a fair shake. Let’s figure out how to make government more responsive to every citizen, and then turn innovation into action.”

Lawmakers expected to join include:

U.S. House of Representatives
James-Christian Blockwood
Partnership for Public Service
Boas Hayes
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
Chamber of Digital Commerce
Michael Brown
U.S. Department of Defense
Robin Carnahan
General Services Administration
U.S. House of Representatives
Kevin Cummins
Tom Emmer
U.S. House of Representatives
Will Grannis
Google Public Sector
Trey Hollingsworth
U.S. House of Representatives
Mina Hsiang
U.S. Digital Service
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. House of Representatives
Ross Nodurft
Alliance for Digital Innovation
National Science Foundation
Hester Peirce
Securities and Exchange Commission
Barton Phillips
Erik Raven
U.S. Navy
John Roese
Dell Technologies
U.S. Senate
Gary Shapiro
Consumer Technology Association
Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility
David M. Wennergren
American Council for Technology & Industry Advisory Council


Appropriately, MerITocracy is hosted by MeriTalk in collaboration with a growing team of media and association partners, including WAMU, Washington’s NPR station; Politico; ACT-IAC, and the Alliance for Digital Innovation (ADI). More than a one-day conference, the MerITocracy program will feature national research and working group sessions to frame the conference on November 16.

“The MerITocracy American Innovation Forum provides new ways of looking at technology solutions to bring about positive change for communities,” said Monna Kashfi, WAMU chief content officer. “It directly connects with WAMU’s mission to serve the Washington, D.C., metro region, and beyond through educational programming and informed news, and we’re delighted to be involved with this partnership.”

“Politico is thrilled to be partnering with MeriTalk for their MerITocracy American Innovation Forum,” said Ryan Heath, senior editor at Politico and author of Politico’s Global Translations newsletter. “Facilitating substantive and solutions-oriented conversations with bipartisan leaders directly correlates to what we do at Politico every day – produce nonpartisan journalism to inform and engage a global citizenry. We’re excited to bring our policy and politics expertise to the important discussion of the critical issues facing American innovation.”

“ACT-IAC is pleased to be collaborating again with MeriTalk, this time on the MerITocracy American Innovation Forum,” said David Wennergren, CEO of ACT-IAC. “Delivering innovative solutions is a top priority for all of us, and these pandemic times have only heightened the need to address topics like security, privacy, healthcare, citizen services, acquisition reform, workforce, education, and the impact of global competitiveness. MerITocracy will provide a great opportunity for Congress, the Executive Branch and industry to collaborate together to identify key recommendations, outcomes and operational plans to advance the mission of government.”

“The MerITocracy American Innovation Forum is one of the strongest indicators yet that Congress is becoming more intimately aware of and invested in American technological superiority,” said Matthew T. Cornelius, executive director of ADI. “The future of our country is dependent upon our ingenuity, drive, and commitment to leading the world in IT, cybersecurity, and emerging capabilities – all of which will be critical elements of discussion and engagement in this wonderful program.”

Tech’s been delighting and confounding folks since the ancient Greeks. MerITocracy explores the implications for the Greek’s real breakthrough innovation – democracy.

To learn more about MerITocracy, contact

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