From The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller:
“Highly successful people choose to live at the outer limits of achievement.” Answers to big problems and big challenges “exist beyond what is already known and being done”, and “rarely come from an ordinary process”, but by benchmarking and trending.
First, “you uncover the best research and study the highest achievers. You search for clue and role models to point you in the right direction. (…) Has anyone else studied or accomplished this or something like it? (…) Armed with this knowledge, you can establish a benchmark, the current high-water mark for all that is known and being done.” Before research, “this was your maximum, but is now your minimum. (…) it becomes the hilltop where you’ll stand to see if you can spot what might come next. This is called trending”.
“Whether it’s figuring out how to leapfrog the competition, finding a cure for a disease, or coming up with an action step for a personal goal, benchmarking and trending is your best option. Because your answer will be original, you’ll probably have to reinvent yourself in some way to implement it.”