Convening AS Capacity Building for the new age…

Trae Ashlie-Garen
4 min readMar 19, 2020

PART 1 of 6

This article, originally written in the spring of 2019; revised in the midst of Covid; and as a result of feedback; has now become a 6 Part Series. May this new breakdown of the information create yet more pleasant reading for everyone.

“If programming WITHIN the system is important, the meta-programming OF the system itself is even more important.”

(Don’t know who said this, but it has stuck with me for years… and thought it fitting to introduce this article here)


PART 1 — Prologue and Introduction


Many of our culturally dominant systems and structures that are operating at this time, treat broad-based relationship building as the foundation for strategy as desired OUTPUTS — either as end goals or as tangential “benefits” — IF it is explicitly acknowledged at all.

Unfortunately, relationship building and the development of shared sense-making of the world are infrequently considered critical INPUTS, or ingredients essential to the design and structure building process.

This is a fundamental design flaw. It is the classic “do as I say, not as I do” syndrome.

The design professes the desired goal of inclusion, engagement, and relationship as the outcomes of our systems, that we say are essential to building a thriving world. Yet the process of the designing itself does not practice any of those things when developing the systems in the first place.

We assert then, that we must “begin as we intend to continue” by applying diligent rigour on the front end to properly build systems and infrastructures in a way that models the behaviour we want those systems to foster — particularly when it comes to bringing everyone into consensus around what success is going to look like.

By doing the convening and facilitation FIRST, ahead of the supremacy of ideation — outside of the parameters of organizational mandates and agendas — we have the opportunity to seed an altogether distinctly different kind of Philanthropy or Philanthropic Investment — one that is truly collective and more inclusive.

>> If this kind of concept intrigues you… then you might want to make the time to read this series of articles. I’m still working it through, and I continue to learn how to

Trae Ashlie-Garen

On a Quest | To Scale Empathy & Interdependence | Meaning for Humanity in Disruptive Times | Bold Conversations | Big Thoughts | New Narratives — Thrivably!