Business View Oceania | May 2021

49 50 BUSINESS VIEW OCEANIA MAY 2021 BUSINESS VIEW OCEANIA MAY 2021 Building innovation I n many ways, the construction industry doesn’t appear to be the most innovative within the business world. For too long, construction firms, engineers, and architects have been content to stick with the status quo even when it resulted in buildings that missed deadlines, went over budget and failed to meet community needs. However, Hickory, an Australian construction group, believes that it is time the sector underwent a significant evolution. Founded 30 years ago, Hickory has grown from a family-owned company to one of the country’s largest construction firms. It hasn’t always been easy, with the early-1990s recession making it a difficult time to start a business, but Hickory persevered with its belief in doing things differently and is reaping the benefits today. George Argyrou, joint-founder of Hickory, believes that an independence of spirit is a significant factor behind the company’s success. He shares, “I am always challenging the status quo and so, as a company, we had a commitment to build things differently, and that attracted talented people who kept challenging us. And as our clients grew, so did we.” This expansion was also supported by the creation of a friendly and inclusive working environment. “As a business, we were always accustomed to running people, not contracts,” Argyrou adds. “So our subcontractors were attracted to us because we treated them as people, as part of our family.” A welcoming atmosphere was not enough to drive Hickory’s success alone, however. The company was also extremely innovative, AT A GLANCE HICKORY WHAT: One of Australia’s preeminent construction groups WHERE: Melbourne, Australia WEBSITE: aware that current modes of operation in the construction sector were no longer fit for purpose. “We think the current quality benchmark for buildings is not good enough,” Argyrou explains. “In construction, end-users still need to carry out defect checks – just like they would have done with new cars 50 years ago. We saw this as a fundamental