Much of design stealing is simply cargo cult thinking. Once a successful product comes out, designers at competitor companies start copying. Many products that steal design are not much more successful than the actual cargo cults. Unless you understand the background context – you are just stealing design. Cargo cults “designed” contraptions that mimicked the aesthetic nature of airplanes, etc. But, they were missing a lot of depth, context, and technology. And, that mattered, a lot.
Success requires an understanding of the system, business model, customers, and their environment. Otherwise you are just stealing design – and you may not know why you are doing what you are doing. If you don’t know why, then you are just doing cargo cult design.