2011 heralds not just a new year, but also the real start of the new decade.

What will it bring, what is in store for Australia and the world in this new post-financial crisis world? So many questions but so few answers.

What will China do?

Where will growth come from?

Will the US economy recover or will it continue its decline?

Will Europe continue to flounder?

Will we see the rise of India and continued growth in the emerging economies?

Will we see a continued decline of living standards in the Western world?

Will the Internet continue to blow up existing business models?

Will commodity prices continue to soar?

Will gold go up, up and away?

Where will the Australian dollar go to this year?

Will water shortages in many countries get worse?

Will we see continued problematic weather patterns?

Will we see a decline in property prices in Australia?

Will we see increased cyber terrorism?

Will the online shopping and commerce onslaught claim victims in the traditional bricks-and-mortar retailing model?

Will Telstra recover?

Is the old, traditional broadcasting model finished?

Will newspapers survive?

How will the advertising industry adjust to a decline in their traditional business?

Will energy prices skyrocket?

Will food prices continue their ascent?

Who are the companies of tomorrow?

Will airline travel grow exponentially?

Will governments around the world make the necessary changes in order to bring a return to stability?

Have people learnt enough in order to now live within their means?

The list of questions and issues for investors to grapple with while they sift through the sands and attempt to work out where to allocate capital for the next generation of change grows larger by the day.

Change is good and change there will be, in spades. So far this year we have seen floods and fires from one end of Australia to the other – does this mean regrowth and reinvestment?

The Internet has ushered in a new age of innovation. Creative destruction abounds. It is important to note that innovation does not slow down during crises but because the economy is depressed; it accumulates and bunches up then comes roaring forward as the economy rebounds.

Upturns follow downturns because downturns tend to overshoot, according to Nobel Prize winning economist Edmund Phelps. He notes that crises spur innovation and lead to the formation of new businesses as entrepreneurs keep on waiting to produce new things so there becomes an accumulation of unexploited new ideas that keep mounting up.

A lot of new projects are deferred due to uncertainty but as the downward spiral peters out the uncertainty wanes.

If we want to prosper again we need to move the economy away from finance capitalism back towards investing in technology and human capital along with new infrastructure that makes long-term economic growth possible.

Our economic system needs to stop channelling funds into super risky, highly leveraged and speculative areas.

We must return to the original vision and purpose of financial markets, which support innovation, and the growth of the real economy.

In 2011 and beyond, ideas travel around the world almost instantaneously on a digital highway and a single keystroke can send insight and creativity through society and revolutionise the way we live.

In today’s ideas-driven economy, the cost of time becomes more and more valuable. It seems crazy that we waste so many hours commuting and it makes sense that the most efficient and productive regions are those where people are thinking and working, not sitting in their cars or trucks wasting time, money and patience. Car commuting is the least effective use of our time and activities not to mention the least enjoyable according to recent research.

What we need to move forward are governments who enable and accelerate shifts by helping to create a fertile environment in which an economy can grow and develop.

The economy needs to be recast and remade, the places where we live and work need to be reinvented and society to be remade in order to deal with the challenges that we ourselves created. We are in the middle of a shift to a fundamentally new economic order and a move from an industrial to an ideas-driven economy.

In order to build the economy of the future, we need to sop infusing capital into the banks and financial institutions that brought us to the brink of disaster, we need to stop bailing out mismanaged old economy companies and use our resources to accelerate change and growth in order to move to a sustainable and prosperous future.

Take the example of China who continues to invest in new high-speed rail links to shrink the travelling times and bring the country and provinces closer together.

High-speed rail has fully infiltrated the population, and it’s only getting bigger. By 2020, there will be HSR lines connecting every Chinese city with more than 500,000 residents, meaning that 90 per cent of the country’s population of 1.3 billion will have HSR access. Food for thought.

We will look back in the years ahead and marvel at the growth and innovation that this strategy ushered in for China and its people.

Inflation and food prices will play a large part in this developing situation, the recent weather patterns that we have seen in Australia and Brazil will continue for some time and we expect repeats of the unusual storm patterns.

China and India will continue their ascent – there will be bumps along the road but the trend is still up. The oil price will see upward momentum as demand for commodities and energy in the emerging economies offsets any drops in the rest of the West.

Demographics will play a major part in many economic events around the world. The ageing populations in places like Japan, Spain and Greece to name a few ensure ongoing challenges for countries with aging cohorts.

The US will continue its slow and tepid recovery, job growth will be patchy and the technology sector will lead the way. Businesses like Apple and Google will continue to be the standouts in this sector and it is my view that we are only in the early stages of the changes that the Internet has ushered in.

The Internet has changed everything and is the most disruptive and wonderful technology the world has ever seen. It is up there with the motorcar, electricity and the railroads as agents of change and progression.

Agile businesses able to change and adapt will increasingly beat the larger more entrenched business models in this new decade.

You ain’t seen nothing yet.