I multiply your projects by words I can’t pronounce,
And weigh your published papers to the nearest half an ounce;
I add a year-end bonus for research that’s really pure,
(And if it’s also useful, your job will be secure).
I integrate your patent-rate upon a monthly basis;
Compute just what your place in the race to conquer space is;
Your scientific stature I assay upon some scales
Whose final calibration is the Company net-to-sales.
And thus I create numbers where there were none before;
I have lots of facts and figures – and formulae galore –
And these quantitative studies make the whole thing crystal clear.
Our research should cost exactly what we’ve budgeted this year.
Source: R. Landon, cited by Dr A. Bueche (Vice-President for Research and Development of the US General Electric Company) in ‘From laboratory to commercial application: some critical issues’. Paper presented at the 17th International Meeting of the Institute of Management Sciences, London, 2 July 1970.