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by Alex Palmer | October 13, 2011
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When it comes to unique corporate gifts it’s hard to beat DNA 11's offerings, which include customized, artistic portraits made from images of individuals’ DNA, fingerprints, and lip prints. But with the launch of the crowdsourcing platform DNA 11 Labs, the company has begun asking people not just for DNA samples, but new product ideas.

The site, labs.dna11.com, allows visitors to vote on ideas for new products that feature DNA 11’s "biometric art" or even submit their own ideas. The works currently being judged by members include a DNA rug, a DNA wallpaper, and a fingerprint bowl crafted from porcelain and adorned with the image of an individual’s fingerprint.

When a concept gets more than 500 votes, the product becomes available for members to order, and the person who submitted the winning idea is rewarded with a $1,000 check. 

“The idea is for there to be a constant turnover of ideas,” says Spencer Callaghan, director of marketing for DNA 11. “Everything we make is custom, so we’re not talking thousands and tens of thousands of units. Some of them are going to hit, and some of them are not.”

The launch of the new site comes as the company heads into the holiday season, its biggest time of the year. While DNA 11 Labs aims to broaden the company’s customer base with products that have mass-market appeal, it continues to target small corporate groups and individuals. 

DNA samples used for the products are acquired with a simple cheek swab from a DNA 11 kit, which is mailed back to the company. The company then creates everything from large-scale portraits for executives to DNA Minis, 8-by-10-inch desk portraits for individual staff members. 

DNA 11’s products are particularly popular as corporate gifts in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, as well as creative industries like graphic design or advertising. 

“Some like the science, some like the art, and some like the technology aspect of it,” says Callaghan. “We love the clash between the physical and the digital.”