At work, we always struggle to quantify the value of our research. It is difficult, to say the least, to point to any easy number and say that was the direct result of the work we had done. Not that our work is completely inconsequential, but my research training taught me to be careful with causality.
Anyway, I'm thinking about this issue again because our new VP is a number guy. He literally believes that everything can be quantified, even emotions.
I guess he hasn't heard of Qualia, huh?