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The Difference Between Creativity and Knowledge: Why It Matters

Creativity is the ability to create something new or imaginative, while knowledge is an accumulation of facts and experiences. Creativity has been shown to be a better predictor of success in many fields, but it’s not always properly appreciated. This blog post is about the difference between creativity and knowledge, why it matters, and how you can cultivate your creative side.

The Nature of Creativity

Creativity is often thought of as a mysterious act of inspiration. The “aha!” moment. The magical spark that leads to something new and wonderful.

In reality, creativity is the ability to create something new or imaginative. In business, the term is used to describe a person who invents new products and services in a process of ‘innovation.’.

However, it can also refer to the process of generating ideas, such as developing an algorithm or scientific theory.

Creativity is sometimes spontaneous (or so it seems) and often involves risk-taking. Creativity can be a great asset in finding new ways to solve problems or overcome challenges. Creativity has to do with novelty, but it’s not limited to creating something completely new. It can also be about inventing something in a new way or adapting something new to a particular context. For example, a musician playing a song on a piano that’s tuned differently from the original instrument to provide a creative performance.

Creativity is important because it allows you to do things that no one has ever done before. That’s why so many people talk about the importance of thinking outside the box and finding new ideas and ways to do things. They talk about creativity being the origination of creative ideas.

Related: Why Creativity is Important

Creativity is the ability to use knowledge and imagination to create or invent something new. This usually involves not only having a new idea but also giving that idea a form.

Creative people are often those daring enough (and encouraged to be so) to use divergent thinking and play or experiment with a different way of doing something.

This kind of creative activity can be the best way to solve a creative problem, in a business, organizational, or personal context.

Related: Why Knowledge Leads to Creativity

The Nature of Knowledge

Knowledge is a fact or theory that can be learned about a subject or object. It helps us make sense of things. Knowledge can also mean accumulated experience or wisdom. Knowledge can be fact-based, as in mathematics or science, or less concrete, as in design or art.

Knowledge can be gained from our own experience and from what others tell us about the world. For example, we can gain information about the history of music by reading books or watching historical documentaries. To us, this is new knowledge.

Things like the scientific method can develop new knowledge in a given field of activity. Knowledge creation and development are distinct, however, from a creative contribution.

Knowledge is important because it gives you perspective. You need it to learn, understand, and remember things. The organization of knowledge is closely bound to human intelligence.

How Knowledge and Creativity Differ

Knowledge and creativity differ in that creativity is the creation of a new thing from ideas that already exist or the recombination of ideas. Knowledge, on the other hand, doesn’t involve creative work, but rather the application of pre-existing facts to a set of problems.

For example, a chemistry student needs to know how to perform experiments based on laboratory information.

Knowledge doesn’t necessarily lead to creative solutions to problems a person faces. Knowledge can be important, but it’s not always necessary. For example, a player may rely on the knowledge of a teammate to properly defend a particular area in a basketball game. Creativity is necessary to come up with new ideas to solve problems.

When I think of creativity and knowledge, I imagine two circles. The creative side of the circle is filled with random ideas, thoughts, and images that may or may not be connected in some way. The knowledge side of the circle is filled with facts, figures, and other information that’s usually arranged in some sort of order or category.

Related: Where Does Creativity Come From

Which Is More Important – Knowledge or Creativity

Imagination is very closely related to creativity because both are about coming up with something unique. However, imagination is more like daydreaming. A creative person puts something into action by developing new ideas, while an imaginative person just thinks about something.

Therefore, it’s fair to use the famous Albert Einstein quote here, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination spans the world.”

It gives a sense of the scope of creativity as opposed to that of knowledge. Knowledge is limited to what’s already happened or been discovered, whereas creativity is unlimited in time and place.

Creative minds relish the chance to explore the unknown and come up with innovative ideas.

What does knowledge have to do with creativity?

Knowledge and creativity are related in that creative ability requires knowledge and imagination. Both creativity and knowledge are important in general.

In a business context, creativity is said to have three components:

  • Expertise (based on existing knowledge)
  • Creative thinking skills
  • Motivation (internal or external).

Knowledge is thus a subset of creativity.

The Idea That Knowledge Must Be Put To One Side

However, some philosophers and thinkers believe that you must detach yourself from knowledge to achieve true creativity.

Osho, for example, taught that you must become a child again and that creativity requires freedom from knowledge and preconceptions – otherwise you become a “technician” who only does things the “right” way.

There’s a middle ground between these two positions. Although an over-reliance on knowledge can limit creativity, it also serves as a springboard from which you can make a creative contribution to the field in which you work or operate.

A contribution that’s “value.”

A person’s creativity is important for leadership and communication with others in the workplace. In the workplace, creativity can help a person complete tasks more efficiently. Knowledge, on the other hand, is useful in the workplace because a person can use their knowledge to solve problems that arise at work.

Creativity and knowledge are both important for success. However, one isn’t the opposite of the other. Rather, the two are completely different.

Related: Is Technology Limiting Creativity

Which Comes First – Knowledge or Creativity

Knowledge is acquired, while creativity is both innate and nurtured – we’re born with it and develop our creative abilities very early in childhood, with play being an important part of creative development. And also in adulthood, when we manage to break out of routines set by others.

It seems that imaginative play can be observed in children as young as two years old. Knowledge in the sense of acquiring accepted facts and concepts in the world comes later.

In adult creativity, knowledge serves as a basis for judging whether something is creative or not. To know that something is new, you must know what already exists in terms of existing concepts and facts!

Examples of Creativity and Knowledge

Examples of knowledge

You acquire knowledge through education, experience, and many other forms. The more knowledge you’ve, the better you’re able to handle different situations. This is why a good education is so important for people who want to enter a profession in nursing or any other profession that requires a lot of knowledge. In some cases, the knowledge you gain can be life-saving.

Take doctors and physicians as an example. They need to acquire a lot of information on various topics because there’s always something new they need to know when they’re doing their job. Knowledge can also be acquired by reading books, such as non-fiction books that teach us new things we didn’t know before about a particular subject.

Examples of creativity

Creativity is basically the ability to come up with original ideas.

The creative process is about finding new solutions to problems or situations, rather than just accepting what everyone else has to say about them.

For example, let’s say we need to teach another nurse how to perform a certain procedure. There are a number of ways we can do this, but we also want to be creative. Maybe we create a short video or a series of practice questions. That can help the new nurse learn what they need to know.

Or we could use props or costumes to illustrate some of the steps to be taught.

Related: Why Creative Process Matters

How to Bring Knowledge and Creativity Together

While creativity can provide the spark of inspiration for a new idea, you need the knowledge to turn that idea into reality.

Creating something from nothing – for example, taking an idea from your imagination and turning it into a product or service – takes a lot of creativity.

But if you don’t have enough knowledge to support your creativity, you can easily miss your target. That’s why it’s so important to have both creativity and knowledge working in harmony!

The associative nature of creativity means that you need knowledge to work with creativity. You can provide each other with ideas, and your creativity can motivate you to learn what you need to know. For example, you might develop a new teaching method that improves student learning. However, you can’t guess your students’ needs until you know enough about them. This is where knowledge comes in.

Knowledge management is a very important part of the overall process – not least because of the deluge of information all around us. The ability to filter information is critical, as is knowledge about information repository and retrieval systems – databases, knowledge graphs, and so on.

Should I Focus More on Developing Creativity or Knowledge?

I can’t imagine a world where creativity and knowledge compete. How could you choose one or the other? Creativity and knowledge are two sides of the same coin. Both are equally important and valuable. However, you need to find a balance between the two. If you focus on both creativity and knowledge, you have a greater chance of creating something really great. Creative intelligence is truly a skill for the 21st century.


Is it better to be creative or logical?

In my opinion, it depends on what you’re doing. For example, if you’re writing a romance novel, you probably want to use your creative mind to convey the feeling of being in love. But if you’re working on a legal document, you probably want to be logical because you think that’s how it should be done.