One of the things that Designers must realize is that their opportunity to contribute depends in part on the design maturity level of the organization: the more mature, the more value they will be able to add.
There are many Design Maturity Models (see appendix below), but they all follow the structure shown in the following graphic, with more or less levels in between.
In the lower levels Design has a predominantly aesthetic function (making screens pretty) and as you go up, Design has a progressively strategic function where it is used to solve business problems.
Design as Output and design as Outcome
If you consider the issue from the Outcomes vs Outputs perspective you can see that in the lower maturity levels, the function of Design is to produce deliverables (Output). And in the upper levels the role of Design is to deliver results (Outputs).
In other words, Outputs are related to technical levels while Outcomes to startegy.
Below is one of the slides from the course where we see how Design Maturity articulates with the Outcomes vs Outputs idea.
Working at the Output level is not a problem per se, because deliverables are a key part of the design process.
However, it is important that outputs are not created as independent pieces created upon request, but related to the results (outcomes) they are intended to achieve.
Outputs are not an end by themselves but a means to a specific outcome.
If deliverables (outputs) are not tied to expected results (outcomes), Design will inevitably stay at the technical level, making it difficult contribute in a more strategic way.