If you haven’t read The Element by Sir Ken Robinson yet, you need to pick up a copy.
In this book about using creativity to find your true purpose ‒ your “element ‒ Sir Robinson discusses an important distinction between creativity and imagination. You may think that imagination and creativity are one in the same, but, as Sir Robinson explains, they certainly are not.
The biggest difference between creativity and imagination is that imagination is thinking of something ‒ whether it’s an object, place, time, etc. ‒ that is not present, while creativity is doing something meaningful with your imagination.
Sir Robinson explains that imagination is the “act of bringing things into conscious that aren’t here”, he also explains in an online interview details about how creativity is different than imagination:
Now creativity is a bit different from imagination, because to be creative you have to do something. It’s a very practical process, but the reason that we’re sitting outside the natural history museum and we’re not exhibits in it, surrounded by other animals who created that thing, is because we have the power of imagination, and they don’t, not to the same degree.
Imagination allows us to think of things that aren’t real or around us at any given time, creativity allows us to do something meaningful with our imaginations.
Knowing the difference: ask yourself how you are creative? How do you use your imagination to do something meaningful that is creative?