The road toward participatory design in the United States has been under construction for some time now. Certainly by the middle part of the 1980s as most large companies grappled with the proliferation of PCs on employees desks, it was becoming clear that users of computer services needed more of a voice in the type of computer services they were receiving. This chapter lays out some of the groundwork that has been leading to more user-centered system design, and explains how this can be used as a bridge toward building more participation into the system development process. Several issues emerge here. The first issue is that user-centered design, while helping to pave the way towards participatory design, is not participatory in and of itself. The second issue addresses the differences between what has come to be known as the Scandinavian approach to design and the way participatory design in the US is emerging and is likely to develop. The third issue is that while participatory design both requires and fosters workplace democracy, participation in the design process may not necessarily lead to workplace democracy. In fact, a central point of this chapter is to illustrate the ways that, I believe, American design needs to take on its own home grown characteristics and to paraphrase Virginia Woolf, become a design of one’s own. As the chapters in this book point out, participatory design is many things to many people. Yet there is a remarkable core to the ideas which have been built on common ground. Among the elements in the common core, are the ideas that: Computer applications need to be better suited to the actual skills and working practices of the people using the systems; that work is a social activity involving the interaction of many groups of people; and that barriers between technical specialists and people using computer applications need to be broken down in order to build effective communication during the design process.