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Crystal clear Featured

5:57am EDT June 29, 2005

Bahman Taheri has revolutionized the use of liquid crystals.

Liquid crystals are typically applied to flat glass displays, but Taheri, CEO of AlphaMicron, saw the potential for liquid crystals in the eyewear industry and focused on developing a method to use them on curved plastic substrates.

The technology was initially created for use in military applications, but the company has been working toward commercializing it for the consumer market.

It has developed and demonstrated the only liquid crystal product on doubly curved plastic substrates. Its devices give the user instantaneous control over the tint and color of the eyewear, either automatically or at the touch of a finger.

By finding a new use for an existing technology, Taheri has found an advantage in the $60 billion eyewear market and has no competition.

This success has come from an environment that encourages employees to experiment and make mistakes - and then learn from them. The number of failures exceeds the number of successes, but the payback from a few successes outnumbers the losses from the failures. Failures are viewed as stepping stones to success.

At AlphaMicron, employees work across different disciplines in broad-based teams. Project obstacles are discussed openly and participation from everyone is encouraged. The result of combining a variety of viewpoints and experiences has led to almost all of the company's innovations.

The open discussion sessions give employees a sense of ownership in the project, have encouraged involvement by a larger group and fostered subsequent innovations.

Taheri leads by setting the visions and by making sure everyone buys into them. Employees need to understand that getting a revolutionary new product to market takes time, and his job is to make sure there is steady progress toward that goal.

How to reach: AlphaMicron, (330) 676-0648