Broken Square

Broken Square

2 - 20 participants

Building relationships between team members, an awareness of what others need and a willingness to offer resources without any verbal communication.

The success of the Broken Squares game hinges on fostering relationships among team members, cultivating an understanding of others' needs, and demonstrating a readiness to share resources—all without verbal communication. This positions it as a prime tool for Emotional Intelligence training. The activity sharpens participants' problem-solving abilities, bolsters virtual team cohesion, and enhances trust within interdependent virtual groups.

For online teams to thrive (comprising 4 members each), they must adhere to two foundational principles:

  1. Mutual Awareness: Prioritize the needs of fellow team members as much as your own.
  2. Collective Completion: The task isn't complete until every member has achieved their goal.

At its core, Broken Squares is a digital exercise centered on the principle of 'giving'. Post-activity reviews can delve deep into individual emotions, actions, and choices, emphasizing the importance of being attuned to the needs of virtual colleagues. This awareness can then be channeled into constructive workplace behaviors.

Key takeaways from the Broken Squares game include:

  1. Unified Objectives: Establish a shared understanding of the task's goals.
  2. Participation & Cooperation: Recognize that collective and individual success relies on every team member's active involvement.
  3. Selfless Contribution: Understand the significance of contributing to a group without expecting something in return—a cornerstone of effective negotiation.
  4. Communication Challenges: Become aware of the hurdles that arise when standard communication avenues are limited.
  5. Open Problem-Solving: Embrace diverse solutions and approaches to challenges.
  6. Interdependent Teamwork: Engage in behaviours that epitomise collaborative team dynamics.

This is an activity involving real time collaboration and team work on a real time collaborative canvas. You can deploy this activity in virtual training sessions for small groups or as a non-verbal training activity for multilingual teams.
The Broken Squares game is a unique team-building exercise designed to foster relationships, enhance emotional intelligence, and promote non-verbal communication among participants. Teams navigate challenges that require them to be attuned to others' needs, share resources selflessly, and work collaboratively—all without the crutch of verbal exchanges. This digital exercise emphasizes the principle of 'giving' and encourages participants to translate the lessons learned into actionable workplace behaviors.

  1. Emotional Intelligence Training: The game's non-verbal nature pushes participants to tap into their emotional intelligence, understanding and responding to non-verbal cues and the unspoken needs of team members.
  2. Virtual Team Building: In an era of remote work, Broken Squares offers teams a chance to bond, understand each other's working styles, and build trust in a virtual setting.
  3. Problem-Solving Enhancement: Participants are challenged to think outside the box, exploring diverse solutions to the tasks at hand.
  4. Negotiation Skills: The game underscores the value of offering without expecting reciprocation, a foundational principle of effective negotiation.
  5. Communication Training: With verbal communication restricted, participants learn to navigate and overcome communication barriers, becoming more attuned to alternative channels of expression.

  1. Strengthened Team Dynamics: Participants emerge with a deeper appreciation for each team member's contributions, fostering a collaborative spirit and mutual respect.
  2. Enhanced Emotional Awareness: The game sharpens participants' emotional intelligence, making them more attuned to the unspoken needs and feelings of their colleagues.
  3. Improved Problem-Solving Abilities: Teams learn the value of diverse perspectives and approaches, understanding that there's often more than one way to navigate a challenge.
  4. Heightened Communication Skills: Participants become more adept at non-verbal communication, learning to express themselves and understand others without words.
  5. Greater Trust Among Team Members: The game's emphasis on selfless giving and mutual support fosters trust, a cornerstone of effective team dynamics.
  6. Real-World Application: The lessons from Broken Squares can be seamlessly translated into the workplace, encouraging individuals to be more attuned to colleagues' needs, to communicate more effectively, and to approach challenges with an open, collaborative mindset.
The Broken Squares game is not just an exercise but a mirror reflecting real-world challenges and dynamics. To extract the most value from this activity, it's essential to engage in a thorough review process. If an observer was involved, their insights can be invaluable in shedding light on the team's dynamics and individual behaviors.

Example Questions to Extract Learning:

  1. Navigating Communication Barriers:
    • How did it feel to operate in silence, devoid of gestures or other communication means?
    • For teams in large organizations with prevalent remote working: "Can you recall moments in your professional life where you felt as isolated or frustrated as you did during this exercise?"
    • In the context of disability awareness or diversity training: "How did it feel to be deprived of your usual communication tools? How did this influence your behavior and perceptions of team members?"
  2. Understanding and Agreement:
    • Was it straightforward to comprehend and agree upon the process you'd employ?
    • How did you navigate the communication challenges, and which strategies proved most effective?
    • Depending on the team's performance and collaboration level, you might probe deeper: "What specific moments or actions significantly influenced the group's progress?" Observers or video recordings can be instrumental here to highlight subtle behavioral shifts.
  3. Individual Contributions:
    • What variations did you observe in individual contributions during the activity?
    • Which actions or responses had the most significant impact on the task's outcome?
    • Once the discussion shifts to individual feelings and decisions, more personalized questions can be posed: "How did you feel about relinquishing control and allowing someone else to act on your behalf?" or "Did you feel compelled to take charge during the exercise? How does this compare to your behavior in a professional setting?"
  4. Translating Awareness to the Workplace:
    • How can the lesson of "being attuned to others' needs" be integrated into your daily work?
    • Are there resources or insights you might be unconsciously withholding that could benefit your team?
    • How can you heighten your awareness of colleagues' needs, and how might this bolster collective achievements?

By posing these questions and fostering an environment of open dialogue, participants can glean profound insights from the Broken Squares game, translating their experiences into actionable strategies for the workplace.


Fully remote/virtual activity
To all subscribers
Activity created
Average duration
60 mins
2 - 20

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