The Man in the White Suit: Design Should Begin with the End in Mind

The Man in the White Suit Movie

The Man in the White Suit (1951) tells the story of Sidney Stratton, who invents a fabric that will last forever. A prototype is made, which he is wearing when he makes a run for it. Makes a run for it? Where did Sidney go wrong? The industry could not allow the drop in demand and ruination of businesses if consumers had no need to shop for new clothes! Sidney was caught up in the creative process and had the very best of intentions, but did not contemplate the end result of his invention. Sadly, the suit wears out quickly due to a flaw in the chemical structure. We are led to believe that he will continue to experiment, hopefully with lessons learned about the bottom line.

The Backward Design process of Wiggins & McTighe begins with the end in mind. Start with identifying the desired results, then develop the curriculum that promotes measurable excellence. Seems so simple, practical and straightforward; and it is, once you select a design template to use as a tool when working with clients to guide them through the process. Putting into words exactly what learners are expected to do at the end of a learning program that will improve business outcomes can be a challenge, one well worth the time invested.

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