Jeff Merritt

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Jeff S. Merritt, 2009

Jeff Merritt (born May 16, 1978) is an internationally-recognized leader in the area of smart cities, the internet of things (IoT), emerging technology and government innovation.[1][2][3][4] He currently serves as Head of IoT and Connected Devices for the World Economic Forum.[4] Merritt previously worked as Director of Innovation for the City of New York as part of the Mayor's Office of Technology and Innovation.[5] He is also known for his work as founder of the New York City nonprofit organization, Grassroots Initiative, where he organized the first exclusively online public election in the United States.[6]


Merritt began his career working with U.S. State Department-sponsored programs in Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia and Montenegro.[5][7] Based on his experiences with democracy promotion in the Balkans, Merritt co-authored "Transacting Transition, The Micropolitics of Democracy Assistance in the Former Yugoslavia" (Kumarian Press, 2006).[8]

From 2003 to 2005, Merritt served as executive director for the Center for Civic Responsibility. In 2005, he founded Grassroots Initiative, a nonprofit organization that seeks to "provide easy political access for underrepresented groups and other political outsiders".[7][9] In 2006, as president of Grassroots Initiative, Merritt helped elect the first Sikhs to political office in New York City.[10][11] In 2009, under contract from the New York City Department of Education, Merritt helped run the first exclusively online public election in the United States.[6]

In 2010, Merritt joined the office of New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and in 2012 was named one of city and state's "New York City Rising Stars: 40 Under 40" for his work there as Senior Advisor.[12] At the Public Advocate's office, Merritt helped developed New York City's Worst Landlord Watchlist, a first-of-its-kind tool to allow tenants to look up a current or potential landlord to see code violations in that landlord’s buildings.[13] The tool was expanded through a partnership with Craigslist in 2011 and replicated by the City of Vancouver in 2012.[14][15] Merritt also led the Public Advocate's open government and technology initiatives and national coalitions on issues of corporate political spending and gun divestment.[12][16][17]

Following the election of Bill de Blasio as Mayor of New York City, Merritt helped establish the Mayor's Office of Technology and Innovation.[5] As part of the Mayor's Office, Merritt led a range of technology efforts including the launch of the .nyc top-level domain,[18] development of outreach systems for the expansion of pre-k in New York City,[5] and the announcement of LinkNYC, New York City's plan to build the largest and fastest municipal Wi-Fi network in the world.[19][20] As the City's Director of Innovation, Merritt oversaw smart city efforts for New York City which included a focus on "expanding Internet connectivity across the five boroughs to unleash new opportunities, growing the local innovation economy and accelerating public-private partnerships, working with communities to develop solutions that meet neighbourhood needs, and always putting New Yorkers first when we test and deploy new technologies."[2][3]

In November 2014, Merritt joined the World Economic Forum as Head of IoT and Connected Devices as part of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Center advertises itself as a way of maximizing the benefits of science and technology for society and designing "new approaches to policy and governance" through partnership with government, industry and experts from around the world. [4]


Merritt holds a Master's degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Michigan.[7]


  1. ^ "NYC's Innovation Director Has a Mission to Fight Inequality". Motherboard. 2017-05-30. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  2. ^ a b Michell, Nick (2016-11-23). "New York awarded 2016 Best Smart City". Cities Today. Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  3. ^ a b Curry, David (2016-11-29). "Who's better than New York? No one, says smart city group". readwrite. Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  4. ^ a b c "NYC innovation director Jeff Merritt moves on". StateScoop. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  5. ^ a b c d Neubauer, Miranda (2014-12-05). "City Official Cites Pre-K as Proof of Ability to 'Disrupt' | Capital". Retrieved 2014-12-21.
  6. ^ a b Roberts, Sam (2009-03-14). "Election for City Schools' Community Councils Moving Online". Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  7. ^ a b c "Image Makers: Grassroots Initiative Seeks to Mow Down Establishment Politics | City & State". Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  8. ^ "Stylus/Kumarian Press - Transacting Transition: The Micropolitics of Democracy Assistance in the Former Yugoslavia". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  9. ^ Montalbano, Elizabeth (2007-02-22). "Social Networks Key to 2008 Race". PCWorld. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  10. ^ Singh, Neha (2006-10-15). "Politics, Spoken in Punjabi - New York Times". Queens (NYC): Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  11. ^ Solomont, Elizabeth (2006-09-21). "Sikhs Rising In Queens Political Fray - The New York Sun". Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  12. ^ a b "Rising Stars: 40 Under 40 – New York City's Next Generation of Political Leaders | City & State". Retrieved 2012-11-02.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Chapman, Ben (2010-08-30). "New website aims to shine light on city's worst slumlords - New York Daily News". Manhattan (NYC): Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  14. ^ Chen, David (2011-04-03). "Identifying City's Worst Landlords via Craigslist, and Trying to Penalize Them - New York Times". Manhattan (NYC): Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  15. ^ Quinn, Steven (2012-01-13). "Bid to expose Vancouver's worst landlords reveals need for a public advocate - The Globe and Mail". Vancouver: Retrieved 2013-05-18.
  16. ^ Taylor, Kate (2011-10-19). "De Blasio Pushes on Information Requests - New York Times". Manhattan (NYC): Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  17. ^ Harkinson, Josh (2013-12-10). "This Hedge Fund Has Made a Killing on Bushmaster Assault Rifles - Mother Jones". Retrieved 2013-12-10.
  18. ^ Wisnieski, Adam (2014-05-18). "Everything Dot NYC". Retrieved 2014-12-21.
  19. ^ Dunlap, David (2014-04-30). "The 21st Century Is Calling, With Wi-Fi Hot Spots". Retrieved 2014-12-21.
  20. ^ Miller, Ross (2014-11-17). "New York City is building 10,000 internet pylons for free public Wi-Fi". Retrieved 2014-12-21.