We've been mulling over a portrait of a female face. The smiling subject has spiky hair, a big nose and eyes like poached eggs. This is a face that reveals contentment. A face that reflects success. It is the face of Xerox (Hong Kong). And make no mistake: this isn't just some random doodle from the Lai See pen. Company cartoons are the wave of the future, and provide instant access to information on everything from profit levels to morale. The eyes alone can tell you if the firm is living in the past - or looking to the future. Professor David Walker created the system, and says the goofy faces could one day replace company reports. Well. Sort of. 'They provide a sort of shorthand,' he told Lai See. 'It's a quick way of reading the company in a way that would be inaccessible to people who aren't able to read balance sheets.' The prof's goggly-eyed brain children reveal the firm's more 'intangible' assets. After all, in today's knowledge-based industries, the company's greatest assets are probably warehoused between the ears of its staff members. Traditional reports just don't cover this. Enter the professor's 'Strategy as Hairstyle' technique. In his unbiased opinion, using graphic techniques to analyse companies is 'a pioneering breakthrough'. In the words of the Head Pioneer: 'I think it's a whole new groundswell led by hi-techs.' The British academic has been in the SAR teaching Hong Kong Polytechnic University Masters students how to draw them. A whole classroom full of budding intellectuals has spent the past few weeks crafting cartoons showing the face of Hong Kong business. It's all very scientific. Hair, for example, symbolises 'technological vision', so if your firm is going bald, there are probably a few too many quill pens floating around the office. Eyes stand for 'visionary', so if they're narrow or crossed, you're in trouble. A company's nose for profit is reflected in the size of its nose, and smiles or scowls indicate employee attitudes towards their work environment. If you kowtow to the administration, a set of big ears will betray your 'ear for government'. Apparently some Polytech malcontents bemused their professor by adding warts and pockmarks to the company skin. It seems they wanted to express just how bad employee-employer relations were, and that down-turned mouth just wasn't doing it for them. We were intrigued to see that one of the Polytechnicians had painted a rather unflattering portrait of an unnamed school . . . based on first-hand experience. Its balding head is flanked by a pair of massive ears, and the scowling mouth speaks of a disgruntled student body. Analysis of the anonymous institution shows it to be 'resource conscious with big vision, low profit motive, poor work environment and much attention to government'. But this wasn't the only school to fall foul of the artists. When all of the portraits are done, Professor Walker puts them all together, creating a 'rogues' gallery of faces'. Then the professor's students look for family resemblances. Here in Hong Kong, it's found among the colleges. Most of them are bald with big eyes, huge ears and downturned mouths. After hearing all this, Lai See decided to test out the theory. We asked a team of experts to depict the chosen company by constructing one of the professor's 'sophisticated' and 'information-rich' portraits. And we must concur that the image of Lai See Inc is spookily accurate.