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Activities to break down silos

I need some more facilitation ideas. This time its something catchy that tackles the issue of silos and communication/collaboration. I’m working with a team who located in two areas of the company and has lots of internal silos. I’ll be running workshops in both locations to discuss how we can communicate better and break down the silos. Anyone done this successfully before?

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I’ve used a pretty simple puzzle activity for this point before, and the debrief is always well received. I purchased about five 200 piece puzzles and mixed the pieces (I used a color-coding system on the back of the pieces, and on the boxes, so I could put them back together again). I split the room into 5 groups and gave blanket instructions (In front of you are 5 puzzles, you have 20 minutes to complete the puzzles. Once you’re all done raise your hand). Then I watch and observe. Typically most groups interpret the directions as needing to complete only their puzzle - as if the groups are in competition. When they figure out the pieces are switched, lots of changes happen to the room. Some people negotiate pieces. Others share freely. Some figure out the color coding but don’t tell everyone. After 20 min (no one can complete the puzzle in 20 minutes) you debrief. Below are some questions I have prepped - but you can also comment on the behaviors you see as well:

How does this activity mirror work projects across offices? Across departments?
What was the overall goal of the activity? What did you interpret it as? Has this happened at work?
What if you were project managing this entire activity, how would you help communication flow?
Imagine the puzzle pieces were pieces of information - did you share freely or focus on trading? Have you seen this at work?
How did it feel to not finish? What could have helped you reach that goal?

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