Facilitating a World Cafe

To create community conversations in order to collect information from community members about needs, wants, and preferences, work through the questions in Facilitating a 'World Cafe' (PDF), also provided as text below.


  • World Cafe is a large group activity that provides a powerful space for community conversations to emerge.
  • Its strength comes from the way that the questions are framed and the opportunity provided for participants to move between tables and meet new people where new perspectives are exchanged.
  • This greatly enriches the possibility for new insights to emerge as they engage in ever-widening circles of thought.
  • A World Cafe can be an activity that your age-friendly team uses, or you can invite community members to a World Cafe in order to spark discussion and generate ideas on how to become age-friendly.


  1. Have the group choose a seat at various tables around the room.

  2. A facilitator and a recorder will be assigned to each table.

  3. The group will be asked to respond to the questions in round one (see next page for Round one, two, and three questions).

  4. After 30 minutes, the MC will ask the people at the table to go to any other table they choose. It is ok if a few people choose to stay put.

  5. The group will then be asked to repeat the process responding to questions in round one and then round three.

  6. After completing the rounds of questions (and perhaps a 15 minute break) invite the group to come together for a ‘Community Caucus’ to reflect upon the day’s activities (See reflective questions below).

Round one questions: Guiding principles

In your community, what does the following mean to you?

  • Respect and support of all citizens means that ...
  • Access and inclusion for all means that ...
  • Community engagement in decision making means that ...
  • Livability means that ...
  • Accountability means that ...

Round two questions: Building blocks

In your community, what does the following mean to you?

  • An informed society means that ...
  • A supportive and enabling environment means that ...
  • Personal, Social, and System Connectedness means that ...

Round three questions

  • What makes your community great to live in and grow old in?
  • What age friendly things are already happening in your community?

Round four questions

  • What opportunities can you see in our community?
  • Are there small things that we can easily change to become more age friendly?
  • What would it take to get us where we want to go?
  • What steps do we need to take to enhance or ensure the age-friendliness of our community?

Additional questions

  • How would you describe your community’s greatest potential?
  • How does each of us make a contribution?
  • How can small changes make a difference?
  • What opportunities can you see in this situation?
  • What other partners do we need to engage with to expand on what’s working and start new initiatives
  • How does a community work through adversity and adapt to change?
  • How can we help to turn community potential into reality?

Community Caucus: Reflective questions

  • What had real meaning for you from what you heard today?
  • What did we learn about our community as a whole? About ourselves?
  • What insights emerged from today’s conversations and how will they influence our thinking and actions for both today and in the future?
  • How can our community deal with the challenges of becoming age-friendly and adapt to change?
  • What needs our immediate attention going forward?
  • If our success were completely guaranteed, what bold steps might we choose?
  • How can we support each other in taking the next steps? What unique contributions can we each make? How can we meet challenges that we might encounter?
  • What conversations, if began today, could ripple out in a way that created new possibilities for the future of age-friendly communities?
  • What seeds might we plant together today that could make the most difference?
  • What are you prepared to do to move this forward?

This activity has been adapted from the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat Regional Age Friendly Communities Forums in Fall 2009.