Starting with Wiener’s political program in the field of informatics, oriented toward enhancing human capabilities, this paper sketches the research agenda of the authors as designers of digital technologies. Drawing upon Zuboff’s analysis of the use of digital technologies in organizations, that distinguish between automating, more hierarchically oriented, and informating, more democratically oriented, the article discuss the concepts in the light of the transformation of the way of working, nicely captured by the focus on knowledge work and on technologically dense environments. In such a context, Scandinavian Participatory Design is introduced, as a way of designing technologies that privileges the situated use value for workers. Through the direct participation of users in the design of technological artefacts, Participatory Design is able to rebalance some of the power relations related to the use of technology. his is shown through the case of the Smart Campus project, that confirms the ability of users participation to reshape power relations. In conclusion, the article defines as future research goals the ones related to the understanding of the potential for users participation in Italy outside the university context.
Keywords: Automation, information, participatory design, university, politics