MeriTalk’s inaugural MerITocracy American Innovation Forum in July brought together congressional, administration, and business leaders to address crucial issues about technological advancements, public policy, and democracy.

“The question we’re going to get at here today is, does our meritocracy still exist? Does the American dream still hold up in light of the technology revolution?” asked Steve O’Keeffe, founder of MeriTalk.

The newly released “MerITocracy” Forward report sheds light on the complex answer to that question. It recaps the event’s discussions, presentations, and working group, as attendees dug deeply into seven “pillar” issues: global competitiveness, security and privacy, citizen services, diversity and inclusion, education and workforce, infrastructure, and cryptocurrency. The report also outlines attendees’ compelling ideas for change to address pressing needs in many areas:

  • Rebuilding infrastructure, particularly the antiquated U.S. power grid
  • Better educating the U.S. workforce to boost global competitiveness
  • Investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Scaling back outdated regulations
  • Improving IT procurement to better defend networks
  • Training the workforce to meet IT and cybersecurity demands
  • Reestablishing trust in government and working closely with U.S. allies
  • Digitizing government services and improving the customer experience

At every turn, attendees emphasized the value of public-private partnerships in meeting these challenges.

“Our goal at CISA is to transform plain old public-private partnerships into something active, valuable, impactful, seamless, and in real time … that can be actioned to improve security,” said Lauren Boas Hayes, senior advisor for technology and innovation at the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Attendees called for these partnerships to extend across the private sector, international partners, and all levels of government – including the intelligence community, defense agencies, law enforcement, and state and local entities – to enhance information sharing and enable innovation.

The report details many other calls to action coming out of the MerITocracy American Innovation Forum, which set the stage for congressional, Biden administration, and private sector experts to push for improvement at the intersection of technology and democracy. It makes recommendations for change across all seven pillars. To learn more, read the report:

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