To say I am a novice in $K$-theory is to overstate my experience with the field. I've been reading the various wiki articles so as to have some preparation before jumping in, and I couldn't answer the following question to myself:

I understand that $K$-theory had started with the Grothendieck-Riemann-Roch in mind, and that the only thing that was needed for that purpose from $K$-theory was just to define the Grothendieck Group ($K_0$). Once the idea of the Grothendieck group was established, this was generalized to topological spaces, as well as for other kinds of modules. Then comes the step I don't understand -- it seems that people were then trying to find the higher $K$-groups that would make $K$-theory into a cohomological theory. Milnor came up with Milnor $K$-theory, which I understand from wiki is different from later notions of higher $K$-theory. But why would one leap from the concept of the Grothendieck group to thinking that this construction is the $0^{th}$ step in a cohomological theory? What was the context/motivation for that?