Frontline staff people are largely untapped resources as potential social innovators. This article describes how one staff person strengthened the ability of low-income clients to become more self-sufficient by adapting a cost-effective and capacity-building educational strategy to her daily work environment. The same educational strategy can lead to “microdemocracy” in which individuals use essential democratic skills in ordinary encounters with public agencies. The article concludes by presenting several criteria that must be met in order to make it possible for frontline staff to become social innovators.
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