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Prof. Thomas Petzold, Ph.D.

Portrait Prof. Thomas Petzold Ph.D. (David Ausserhofer)
Research Fields
  • Innovation, Knowledge, and Culture

April 2013 Professor for Media Management, University of Applied Sciences for Media, Communication and Business Administration (HMKW), Berlin.

2011-2013 Research Fellow, Project leader "Socio-algorithmic Innovation", Collaborative project lead "Copying as innovation," Social Science Center Berlin, Germany & Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, Brisbane, Australia.

2011 Ph.D., Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

2007 M.Arts, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder, Germany

2002 B.Arts, The Open University, Milton Keynes

Selected Publications

Petzold, T (2013) Re-Thinking Search (tbc), Society of the Query conferenceInstitute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 7-8 November 2013.

Humer, S. & T. Petzold (2013) Go and stop them, but don’t tell anyone that an algorithm said to! Monitoring public life in Germany, Media in Transition 8 Conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, 3-5 May 2013.

Petzold, T (2013) Human-Algorithmic Scaffolding, Erasmus University Rotterdam, School of Law, Rotterdam, 24-25 January 2013.

Petzold, T (2012) 36 Million Language Pairs - How to unleash the true momentum of knowledge, TEDx Berlin, 23 November 2012.

Petzold, T (2012) The Big Data Upgrade. New Dimensions in data analysis - risks and opportunities, WZB Journal 137, 41-42. (in German; English summary)

Petzold, T, Liao, H, Hartley, J & J Potts (2012) A World Map of Knowledge in the Making: Wikipedia’s Inter-language linking as a dependency explorer of global knowledge accumulation, In Schich, M, Malina, R, I Meirelles (Eds) Arts, Humanities and Complex Networks, MIT Press. Links to: E-Book and Web Companion.

Petzold, T, Liao, H, Hartley, J & J Potts (2012). A world map of knowledge in the making: Wikipedia's inter-language linkage as a dependency explorer of global knowledge accumulation. Leonardo: Art, Science and Technology 45(3).

Petzold, T (2012) 36 Million Language Pairs, Cultural Science 5(2), 106-119. Petzold, T (2012) The social copy engine, Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford, 13 July 2012.

Petzold, T (2012) Geo-linguistic Bursts, Wikipedia Academy, Berlin, 29 June 2012.

Workshop "Language and Internet", Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin, 28 October 2011.

Petzold, T (2011) The Merkel Algorithm. What Indian search engines reveal about German Chancellor Angela Merkel? Kulturaustausch: Zeitschrift für Internationale Perspektiven II-III. (in German)


1. Socio-algorithmic innovation - This research project is concerned with innovation capacities of media and communication caused by technological and social change. The specific focus is on the networking of computational and social innovation. The research project seeks to identify practices of this analytical junction both to conceptualise these for key issues in media and innovation research and to provide recommendations for individuals and institutions. The selected case studies are established digital as well as emergent research objects: Apps, APIs, big data, search engines, Wikipedia. Each case study examines the ways in which social practices determine the incremental development of the research object, and vice versa, how the research object as a technical system affects social practices. Based on this analysis, innovation capacities are developed to give conceptual recommendations for research and practice.

2. Copying as innovation This research project starts from the proposition that almost all our decisions are based on copying. We give an idea a tweak of our own and a new idea emerges. This keeps up freshness and flexibility, in fact, it is the most undervalued way of innovation. The project, organised together with John Hartleyhas initiated a collaborative platform for everyone interested in thinking about copying afresh, and with the aim of developing a much needed zeitgeist, that is, copying as innovation.