Professor in Cultural Learning – University of Aarhus – Denmark

Institutional Creativity: The Relational Zone of Proximal Development (2001)

Download: Article (format)


In this article I argue that creative acts cannot be confined to the individual. Creativity can be seen as a meeting between an individual and a wider activity system. This argument is related to the claim that a zone of proximal development (ZPD), the concept connected to the culturalhistorical psychologist Lev Vygotsky, is both an internal and an external relation between an actual and a potential developmental zone. I shall suggest that institutions can facilitate creative potential and development if the associated members are trained or already have potential developmental zones answering to the actual development of the members of staff. The argument is supported by two case studies—one from fieldwork in an institution of higher education, and one from an institution for the mentally handicapped—and supplemented with a few historical examples.

Culture & Psychology Copyright © 2001 SAGE Publications
(London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi)
Vol. 7(2): 199–221 [1354–067X(200106) 7:2; 199–221; 017201][spiderpowa-pdf src=””]