Meritocracy is about the best ideas, whereas democracy is about consensus, usually an average outcome.
In a democracy, those who manage to smooth the waters, and gain the average usually get ahead, but in a true meritocracy, those with the best ideas get listened to, and eventually get ahead.
Collaboration is often confused for democracy, everyone gets an equal turn, but in a collaboration that will win, only the best ideas survive the demanding, often aggressive review and decision making process that are core to success. It is this review that crashes most collaborations, because most people see them as democracies, not meritocracies brought together to identify and harvest the best ideas.
Sobering thought when you consider the challenges we face, economically and socially, to think that at best, we can have an average outcome.