When first lady Michelle Obama helped turn a patch of the South Lawn into a kitchen garden for the White House, sustainable foodies savored the moment—and the overnight attention it brought to their “eat local” movement. Social innovators, meanwhile, spent early spring waiting for the Klieg lights to turn in their direction. “Any day now” was the rolling estimate of when the new President would formally announce creation of the first-ever White House Office of Social Innovation. (At press time...

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