It’s valuable to be at the cutting edge.
The cutting edge is backward-facing and frontward too. It has an entire tradition of thought behind it, filtered through generations of capable thinkers.
And it looks for weaknesses of one sort or another in the prevailing consensus that could be improved upon.
These improvements could be something never before considered within the discipline. It could be a novel solution that finally connects the dots in the sort of way people have been looking for.
They could also be old, discarded ideas which need to be revived and brought back. Sometimes the old or the very old is an important source of present progress.
This is the assumption of the modern university. And I think it’s not such a bad approach.