Innovation in Action

At NRS Relief, we never stop innovating. We strive to pioneer products that meet all present and future needs of the end user and the entire humanitarian community. We call this ‘Innovation in Action’.

In the humanitarian sector, innovation is often led by someone on a mission to create value and social impact. We are committed and compelled to innovate in order to overcome the product challenges we face in our respective sectors.

Holistic and collaborative approach

Product development and innovation is a holistic, collaborative process which is the result of an ongoing dialogue with our clients. Humanitarian agencies operating in the field are well-situated to establish the strengths and shortcomings of certain relief essentials and shelter solutions. Therefore, we welcome the trend of co-creating products with our clients. Our longstanding relationship with our manufacturing arm, allows us to pursue complex R&D trajectories to design and develop fit-for-purpose products.

In this relatively new approach, suppliers like us receive a design brief specifying requirements and usages of a desired product. The solutions are the outcome of a cross-cutting process in which each individual and/or institution contributes. We follow a cycle of innovation that invites all those concerned to contribute to the optimal product. This collaboration model is applied to every single relief item that we design and develop, from buckets to blankets, from tents to tarpaulins.

Public-private partnerships

To further strengthen our innovation capacity, we have built strategic public-private partnerships to jointly develop new products that are beneficial to the humanitarian aid sector. Through these critical partnerships, we continue to cultivate a corporate culture of innovation, learning, evaluation and creativity – and we are better able to serve clients and beneficiaries globally.

Our innovation journey

A pivotal moment of our innovation journey was the introduction of fire-retardant products. In 2014, we proudly introduced the first-ever fully fire retardant (FR) tents and tarpaulins to the humanitarian community. The essence of FR innovation is to improve safety in refugee camps and prevent loss of properties, injuries and deaths. The introduction of the FR products is considered a significant milestone in the history of the humanitarian sector.

Fires still a significant threat

We applaud the wide acceptance by leading humanitarian agencies. Unfortunately, however, fires are still a significant threat to refugees as long as non-FR products are dispatched to the field. In the fall of 2018 two NRS Relief colleagues participated in a field trip to Arsal refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, hosted by our client Polish Aid. They personally witnessed how easy non-FR treated tarpaulins catch fire, and that camp fires are still a reality. A blaze in 2017 in the same area left three people dead, almost 100 tents were burned to the ground and 700 refugees were evacuated, once more forced to flee. Therefore, it is our commitment to continue raising the relevance of safe and fit-for-purpose products to our buyers.

Between July 2017 and present, we have brought four key product innovations to the market, including the fit-for-purpose LegendMEDI medical structure for Ebola and hemorrhagic fever patients and the new HuggyPRO Vertical Walls. The implementation of these innovation projects demonstrates our commitment to nurturing ideas that serve a purpose.