The pressure to "push the polymer envelope" is clear, given the exploding range of demanding applications with optical components. There are two keys to success: 1. Expanded range of polymers with suitable optical properties. 2. Sophisticated manufacturing process options with an overall system perspective: -Tolerances and costs established relative to need (proof-of-concept, prototype, low to high volume production). -Designed to integrate into an assembly that meets all environmental constraints, not just size and weight, which are natural polymer advantages. (Withstanding extreme temperatures and chemical exposure is often critical, as are easy clean-up and general resistance to surface damage.) -Highly repeatable. The thesis of this paper is that systematically innovating processes we already understand on materials we already know can deliver big returns. To illustrate, we introduce HRDT1, High Refraction Diamond Turning, a patent-pending processing option to significantly reduce total costs for high index, high thermal applications.