In 1966, Michael Polanyi identified two types of knowledge:

Tacit knowledge

As it is more abstract and draws from different sources, this type of knowledge cannot be understood without individuals – and cannot be separated from them either.

Tacit knowledge can only be found in practical, individual and specific contexts, disclosed through interaction within closed communities.

At IdeasMeetCapital, we designed a model leveraging collective knowledge, to create a better, more fair risk assessment, based on the sum of tacit knowledge of a specific expert community.

Collective intelligence

Collective intelligence aims to find new ways to channel a specific expert community’s tacit knowledge on a specific topic.

Collective intelligence unveils new information, obtained through a group of individuals, using a process based on human conflict, cognition, coordination and collaboration patterns.


In 1906, anthropologist and psychologist Francis Galton asked people at a cattle county fair to guess the weight of an ox. More than 800 people answered and a simple mathematical average was obtained. The result proved to be only 0.8% lower than the actual weight of the ox: all in all, a much more accurate estimate than the one provided by any given individual in the group, including the so-called cattle experts in the panel.


In 1987, Jack Treynor asked 56 students to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar. The average estimate stood at only 2.8 % difference to the actual result. Only one of the students went beyond the average answer.


Popular TV programme Who wants to be a millionaire? was first broadcast in 1998. Contestants are given two chances to ask for help when a question is too hard to guess: they can call an expert or ask the audience.

Over the years, experts answered correctly 65% of the time, while the audience ­­– supposedly not expert – a staggering 91%.