Sampling is the mother of (almost) all invention. Take pieces of existing things, repurpose them. On their own, they are nothing new, but when stitched together cohesively, they make a brand new whole. Reminiscent of Hegel’s dialectic, which views history as an infinitely occurring progression of Thesis, Antithesis, then Synthesis. The key here is “repurpose”. Which is why Kanye West can take an Aphex Twin sample for Blame Game and make something completely new out of it. At a design level, which is why RelateIQ can essentially rip off Palantir’s website, but have it integrate well with what they’re going for, so it’s fresh.
Imitating is what most people fall in the trap of doing (myself included). Imitation is a good way to learn, but if you’re trying to create something evergreen and worthwhile, imitation is a bad long-term strategy. Compare RelateIQ’s design to Tsu.co and see how the latter looks like a complete rip-off/imitation, lacking the same precision as the original. Or listen to mainstream pop music and hear how everything sounds the same. It’s because everyone is trying to wear the same glass slipper.