As designers when we make assets—the products of design work—we want to think that we are creating. In fact this part of our work is an exercise in joining together curated artefacts, experiences, feelings, affinities, and memories which we have obtained from various sources, and fitting them into a requirement.
That's the executive part of design. A lot of people can do this.
The creative part of design—or any work for that matter—is doing everything necessary in order to find out what needs to be done, and knowing exactly how the work should be executed.
It's about understanding the inputs, and setting a vision and direction for others to follow.
It's being aware of the zeitgeist, having taste, and the ability to make something look and feel a certain way.
It's the ability to assign meaning and create value where it didn't exist before. Without any history to rely on, and sometimes even when that history is against you.
It's knowing what has to be done.
Not many people can do this.