Dean C. Garfield photo
Strengthening the Tech Sector’s Advocacy Voice

During the past 50 years, our society has moved from one of switchboards to video chat, from mimeograph machines to online file-sharing.  Innovation has brought mobile medical technology to populations desperately in need of health care, spurred on peaceful revolutions and the spread of democracy by giving a voice to the oppressed.  The work of our industry not only changes the way we live and work, but also changes the way the global population grows and adapts.  At ITI, we consider it a core part of our mission to ensure that innovation and technology can continue to change the world. 

To ensure that global public policy allows the innovation sector to continue to create the cutting-edge products and ideas that bring the world closer together, ITI has, for the past several months, focused a great deal of attention on how to build the ideal advocacy organization for the sector.  As one would imagine, there are a number of different ideas on how to approach the future.  But the common theme throughout has been the desire of companies and stakeholders alike that we develop an even more effective organization with stronger influence and a more unified voice in Washington and around the world.  This organization would be geared to provide more innovative policy solutions and greater insight that will benefit member companies, their employees, and their customers. 

Achieving our ideal state would include a forum for both emerging and established tech companies to share ideas and approaches with each other and with other sectors which rely on innovation to succeed.  It would enhance our global advocacy efforts while bolstering our work in the United States.  It would provide for a greater role for C-level leadership.  Overall, it would create a stronger engine for advocacy and education on the issues that can help to create jobs and opportunities around the world.

Late yesterday, the ITI Board of Directors approved the next step in this process.  They voted overwhelmingly for ITI to begin discussions with TechNet on how we can consolidate the strengths of the two organizations.  Each group is home to unique talents and services that would be enhanced if combined.  The ITI Board’s actions follow a similar move by TechNet’s leadership.  Both organizations understand that we are at an inflection point for the sector.  The decisions we make on how we build this advocacy organization will guide the future for the sector’s policy work for many years to come.

There are many outstanding questions that need to be resolved as TechNet and ITI come to the table for these discussions.  Some are internal, while others revolve around the best way to advocate for the innovation sector.  But the guiding principles are clear:  Follow the ethos of our member companies who are constantly evolving by embracing cutting-edge approaches to product development.  We will use their examples of disruptive leadership to build a powerful force for the tech sector with clarity of vision and voice.  We will evolve and be positioned to achieve even more.