I have heard this phrase way too often in my career. Someone submits a good idea in a meeting, and since there is no clear owner already in the organization, the person with the suggestion gets asked to implement it. I regret to admit that I have even on occasion done this to others in a meeting.
The first time I ever heard it used, it impressed me. How clever! What better way to make someone’s suggestion become a reality? Assign ownership to the person who had the idea as sort of a “put your money where your mouth is.”
But consider its effect on your organization’s culture. It only takes a couple “are you volunteering?” instances to train people to keep their good ideas to themselves. In most organizations, people with good ideas are likely already busy. They’re the ones who naturally have skin in the game. Can your organization really afford to stifle the free exchange of ideas?
You want an innovation culture–one in which great ideas come forth–make sure that people don’t get punished for sharing their ideas.
That’s my idea. Can I get you to volunteer for it?